Hey guys! Welcome to week 18 of the Crushing it in Real Estate Podcast, this week we have Humberto Gaeta aka Cookie as many of you guys know him in the SF Bay Area! Cookie is a rehabber, money raising extraordinaire and a super Airbnb host. This week we dive into Cookie’s drive, ambitions and tough lessons learned from a changing market. Please enjoy!
Intro: [00:00:00] Hey everyone. And welcome to dinner at the stone. Crushing real estate with Bryan Pham, where we interview real estate professionals around the industry. If you can go this episode, please subscribe to the show and leave a very positive review. We release an episode every single Sunday. So, stay tuned.
Bryan: [00:00:22] Hey guys. Welcome to another episode of Christianity real estate.
Right on, right on.
We have Humberto, aka Cookie. Humberto is a fellow UC Irvine graduate. So, I love that we shared the same school. He was also a flipper and fundraising money extraordinaire in the San Jose, Bay Area. Humberto, welcome to the show.
Humberto: [00:00:48] Thank you so much for having me, my friend.
Bryan: [00:00:49] Awesome. Can you walk us through your…
Humberto: [00:00:54] [inaudible]
Bryan: [00:00:56] Awesome. Hey, can you walk us through your real estate journey and tell us how you got started.
Humberto: [00:01:01] How I got started? Man, I guess it’s straight out of college. I always knew that I was graduated as a mechanical engineer, and I knew that I wanted to put my money into real estate. I just didn’t know how. And so, I went to one of those, you know, I wanted to get informed.
So, I went to this two-hour event and then a three-day event company was Fortune Builders, who I ended up being a part of. And that happened like three months, right before I graduated college. And it’s funny because my girlfriend at the time, she was just like, you don’t look like, you know, I know what mechanical engineers are.
Bryan: [00:01:40] Yeah! You have the personality.
Humberto: [00:01:42] You have a personality; you know how to communicate with people. And then after the three-day event, she was like, this fits you like a silk suit. And I’m like, and we were like, adamant, like we weren’t going to buy anything. We weren’t going to join no courses like that. But I guess you can call that my first fundraise because I’m raising my own money, leveraging student loans and credit cards, just to be a part of that.
Bryan: [00:02:10] Wow.
Humberto: [00:02:11] That community. And that has served me ever since. I literally took that as my, like, that was my PhD, not just for real estate, but for just knowing how money works business like entrepreneurship, I mean, entrepreneurship, it chews you up and spits you out and it builds you as a person. It really does.
So, I mean, I’ll tell you all the successes, but I’ll tell you that it wasn’t easy because it starts with your mind. It really does because every person that starts has those challenges of like keep going and being consistent and you make sacrifices that you wouldn’t have done in your normal, cushy life.
Bryan: [00:02:52] Definitely man. And when you started your fortune builders, was this up in the Bay Area? Was this down in Irvine, California?
Humberto: [00:02:58] This was down in Irvine and because I didn’t want to wait like four, six weeks to go to that three-day event. I literally drove me and my girlfriend all the way to like Oxnard, like two-hour drive and [inaudible]
Bryan: [00:03:13] You really wanted it, man. I like that.
Humberto: [00:03:15] I did. But that’s the thing, like, how are you going to tell your parents coming out of college? Like, Hey, I’m not going to be an engineer. I’m like, I’m going to make $80,000 a year, like, I’m going to go do this real estate thing. Got slapped by her mom.
Bryan: [00:03:28] I can totally relate with that. You know, I studied computer science back in the day. And then making the switch over to real estate and putting my job once to do real estate full time. I’m all got a heart attack.
We understand, man.
Humberto: [00:03:47] It’s not easy. It’s not like. That everybody’s used to, or the norm is like getting a steady income working for a company. I get it. Like that’s where everybody starts. I just chose that because, and this is for the people that are watching this, that are young, that are like 18 to like 20 they’re still college. You guys start looking at life like, Oh, I want to do a startup company. You know, I want to do this. I want to do that. Like all the biggest risks in the world, right? For those youngsters, this is the time. Don’t think that you’re going to be doing that in the forties, fifties. Yes, you can do it. But the most probable success is going to be now. Why? You’re young. You don’t have kids. You don’t have a mortgage. You have to pay rent, but you can probably couch surf. If you play your cards right. You have nothing that gets in and say, you lose your, but in doing so you have your family, you have your mom, dad, I don’t know people that you lay back on, but you don’t have too many responsibilities coming out of college, aside from feeding yourself and thinking about the future.
So. If you’re going to take risks coming out of college, do it. Later on, that cushy, everybody gets tired of like working for a check. The risks are now because later on, you’re gonna have a kid. You’re going to have to think about them before.
Bryan: [00:05:11] Exactly.
Humberto: [00:05:12] You’re going to have a mortgage over your head that you have to.
That’s why people stay in their eight to five and there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s just that the risk is better taken when you don’t have to feed more mouths or have a mortgage over your head where you don’t pay your, your mortgage.
Bryan: [00:05:29] Yeah.
Humberto: [00:05:30] Foreclosure, and then they take your house away.
Bryan: [00:05:33] I absolutely, absolutely agree with that statement. You know, I feel the exact same way. Have the same exact mindset where I’m like, okay, I’m going to go out there. I’m taking the biggest risks right now.
Humberto: [00:05:43] Yeah.
Bryan: [00:05:43] Because at the end of the day, like I know that this is just one bad year or two bad years, and we’ll be investing for the next 20, 30, 40 years.
Humberto: [00:05:53] Yeah.
Bryan: [00:05:53] I was wondering what’s one or two bad years, you know, like go out there and take the risks where you still can, as you get older, you’re going to have more responsibilities and you know, things that may or may not affect your decision to be all in. And Cookie’s the best person to talk about this, you know, around the college with the real estate full time.
I want to let our listeners know that Cookie’s still relatively young. I think he’s a 25, 26, or are you Cookie?
Humberto: [00:06:19] 25 going to 24, man.
Bryan: [00:06:23] He’s Benjamin Button. He gets younger every year. Obviously, we all know cookie in the Bay Area. He’s a pretty accomplished young man and we all aspire to, you know, listen to him and listen to his stories and what he learned so far to kind of give you guys a little bit background of who Cookie is. Do you want to talk a little bit more about his success stories first? And then we want to talk a little bit more about his setbacks and how he’s going to overcome them. And for this podcast, it’s meant to be a little bit more informal, a little bit more candid, because we want to hear his stories and know what he learned from his mistakes.
Especially given the market right now where things are a lot slower here in California Bay Area. I’m like, Cookie, go ahead and take it over, man.
Humberto: [00:07:10] You want me to start? Where exactly like…
Bryan: [00:07:14] Like I’ve been following you for a while now. Like I know, like, good amount of things you’ve been doing, but let our listeners know like about your success stories, having projects you did. We can start from there.
Humberto: [00:07:27] All right, right on. I mean, I guess starting off, you know, you were just, we were just trying to do, we’ll do some milestones, just so people can get the sense of it. You know, when I started, I went straight through fortune builders and like, literally, like in four months I literally went through A through Z of everything that they had…
Bryan: [00:07:46] And this was 2014, right?
Humberto: [00:07:48] This was 2016. Yeah. So, coming into 17, I was like hot to get this gone, right? And so, I did a couple of deals like one-offs with people, I raised some money and then, so we pointed out about three of them. And then I really went on to see that I was able to raise money just because of the community that I’ve been able to build.
So that’s one of my biggest babies, my biggest accomplishments, which was creating a community, locally, of fortune builders to just connect. And so, me being in Gilroy, I’m not even in like San Jose, Bay Area, well, the biggest thing was like keeping, staying motivated to keep going. Like I wasn’t talking to anyone locally that was doing the business. Everybody usually has the strategies and they keep them to themselves. And my ideology was like, how about we get together? We, you know, we didn’t even have the Dre V on a project. We just GPO on like marketing. Or just give each other accountable.
So, I started connecting everybody and making a hub where people can just come together and we’re all fortunate. And now it’s grown into something exponential word. Now there’s like a weekly huddle in San Jose, LA, Orange County, Phoenix and people have been pulling me left and right to go to Texas,
Bryan: [00:09:15] Wow.
Humberto: [00:09:15] Yes. It’s ready because there’s such a need for people to connect that are like-minded. And I just thought I was just a kid that had no experience. I just wanted to connect with people that were on the same path as mine. Just like when you go to the gym, you want to meet other people that are dedicated, you go to the gym every morning and you start seeing the couple of people that are there every like consistently.
So that was one of my biggest accomplishment, making the mastermind and now making that into a weekly huddle where we meet every Wednesday. And so that went on to raising, I mean, we raised like 1.2 mil.
Bryan: [00:09:54] Wow
Humberto: [00:09:54] [inaudible] man. It was my first sculpture. And I didn’t even know how to raise right. It was like 630,000 in like five days with a trip from here to Mexico in between. So, all that’s happening, stacked against you. And you’re just like, how do you make…
Once again, that was just like the connecting, like I had my mentor who was like the financial guy, the money guy, but I was the one making all the connections or whatnot.
Bryan: [00:10:22] So what was on your mind when you first fundraise at 600k to, like, $1.2 million. Were you scared? Were you excited? Were you like, oh my God, what am I going to do?
Humberto: [00:10:33] You look at the goal and you’re just like, what the hell? Recognize, like, you’ve never done this before, right? I never did this before, but I was just like Mr. Dan. He was the money guy.
Bryan: [00:10:46] Okay.
Humberto: [00:10:47] David, her’s the operation and the new construction. And I had networked so much that I didn’t know what my network was worth, what I could do. And so being able to make those calls and make those connections, just connecting, being able to find that money. So, it was serious how you don’t know what the hell to do, but at the new day is just like what Tony Robbins always teaches us, like, take baby steps, momentum. Momentum. And one, something that Mr. Dan, allowed me to visualize was “Cookie, do you know where your strength is?” And I’m like, quite frankly, no, I’m just connecting. And he was just like, you have a goal and your laser focus into it. Like you don’t let anything else get into it. Like, he’s not telling me what to do. He’s like, that’s what you do. Like your mindset is so much in focus and in line with your goal that you don’t let anything else hit it. Like you just laser focus on something and that’s your forte. You breathe that. You speak it. Even through the phone, we were like 120,000 down. And we had like two days left and we’re just like, where the hell are we going to find 120 grand, like the next 48 hours?
And you could have heard me, and this is a kid just like, you know, making it happen. You saw the deal. Deals like, you know, seven figure profit. Like, no, this is going to happen. And because you will it into existence and you like, the universe would like that. That actually…
Bryan: [00:12:22] It works.
Humberto: [00:12:24] It works because you pulled it. And you’re making a connection and you have the momentum. So, it’s the action behind agents just can’t believe in yourself. You have to do it. You have to take action. Because a lot of people stay. And then that’s the thing with entrepreneurship real estate. Anything, whenever you’re faced with a challenge in life, you start with your brain. The choice. The choice is whether you can do it and whether you’re willing to do what it takes to make it happen. And you don’t even know the action that you have to take. You just end up going and taking the next step. Cause the next one I love when people say I have a plan. Plans are great. But they shift like one son of a beep. It’s a great guidance.
You got to be agile as hell because plans always change construction. I mean, if you’ve done one flip in your life for those years out there, if you’ve done one flip, did it go according to plan?
Bryan: [00:13:22] No. No, it never goes according to plan.
Humberto: [00:13:24] Hell no! You got to shift, like literally, we had a place in Santa Clara. Had 1100 square feet. But with this market, right, we ended up like tearing the whole thing down and building a new… shout out to, the twenty brothers. Twenty home solutions. They ended up taking the whole house down and then building it on new construction essentially, and that saved the deal. That saves everybody’s profits and we’re invested into it. So, we’ll go according to plan. Do you think that no, no. The market doesn’t even, we didn’t know that the market was going to tank like this so quickly.
Bryan: [00:14:07] So before we move on to the setbacks, highlight a couple points that Cookie brought up. So, first of all, he found a good mentor in real estate that kind of helped him break through and, and believe in him. That’s great. Another thing that Cookie mentioned that, you know, you do a little bit every day, you stay consistent.
So definitely compounding your everyday actions eventually is going to add up and you’ll be able to achieve bigger and newer and more impossible things per se. And also, I liked Cookie’s mindset. You can hear it through his voice, but he’s very motivated, very driven. And it kind of reminds me of what Grant Cardone said. It’s like, you have to be obsessed or you’re going to be average, you know. Obviously, my man right here, he’s very obsessed. Like he’s never going to be average. Like those are a couple of points. I just want to highlight as he’s telling through his story. He has good mentors. You know, I do a little bit every day, sticking sustained.
Lastly, like just it’s okay to be obsessed, right? There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s a strong trait of every successful people I know is that they breed the… they talk about their investments, their real estate, whatever they want to do. Like that’s your true passion. For people you want to surround yourself with and work with because we are essentially like-minded people, you know.
Humberto: [00:15:21] Yeah. And you have to have the, those key players in your team because there’s no, you can never run now or have too much of motivation of just like talking about it, being about it. Like, let’s do this. Writing on the board. What’s the plan? Like you really have to be in that frequency where you like everybody in the room is like at the same frequency.
And that’s so essential when you’re doing partnerships, when you’re doing deals, when you’re getting into real estate. You have to have that to be able to just thrive. And that’s the thing, like we did that and it was four guys when we created a good night and we were just like, we want to be 200 grand in wholesale in thirty days.
That was it. That was it. Like we had pride.
Bryan: [00:16:06] I like that.
Humberto: [00:16:07] Yeah, this was, yeah. This was like mid-March of 2018 and we literally sat down at a conference table and we’re like, you’re an age and you have juicy experience. You’re a project manager and I run the weekday huddle. So, let’s… no contract or nothing, just on a handshake.
We’re just like, well, let’s do marketing and see where it goes. And we set the goal. We were like, crazy. Like literally the goal, like we all said – 200,000 in 30 days. Wow. Oh, you’re, you’re talking to someone that has never seen a six-figure check before. Yes, I have done some deals, but there were like five figures.
And the fact that it was four people that we all believed in the team. Guess what happened in 30 days?
Bryan: [00:16:53] You guys got the check! 200k, baby!
Humberto: [00:16:58] Actually, you know what the most stressful part was having those checks, making that company and not having the people work for that company. So, we didn’t have a bank account to deposit checks.
So, we have the checks and I was the smart one with my backpack, having like $200,000 of checks and you have a bank account, like, what do you need to do? Like, and how do you get it? Like irs.gov, what we’re doing. And it was funny, because it was just for 40 something days, I had those checks in my backpack and I’m like, dude, I looked at my backpack, like, that’s a goal.
Like what if those checks go away? Like we’re done! Little, did I know John and my partner who was just like “Cookie, I made a photocopy service. So, in case you ever lose it, we can track it back.” And I’m like, you could have told me that, like, when we got the checks over here, like for 40 days, like who’s going to mug me and take the checks.
Even then there’s not bank account for it. It just, you know, you go through those fun learning lessons and they’re just literally like that’s life and that’s real estate. That’s entrepreneurship. It’s fun. It’s the one constant is that. Oh, there’s always going to be change and you got to be able to be agile with change.
Bryan: [00:18:17] I mean, that’s the real estate nutshell, right? It’s like you learn stuff along the way and you fill in the gaps. It’s like, okay, when you get your first… for myself, like when you get your first commercial, like you need to form an LLC, like, okay, do I need the LLC? Or now, you know, you make an offer with the LLC and format later.
It’s things like that. [inaudible] as you go along. Okay. I’m learning, I’m learning like next time. You’re like, okay, I know what I’m doing now. It’s professional. It’s things the same way for all of us when we first got started, you know. Filling the gaps. It’s okay if you don’t know. Because as long as you find people out there to do, you know, a lot of people are generous with their knowledge and they’re willing to share with you.
The point is, all you have to do is ask. You never know.
Humberto: [00:19:00] It’s funny because even in negotiating, and now whenever I buy anything that you can negotiate, I always ask, I always ask, you know, you always ask for the discount, you always ask for give that extra smiley face and that adds to your personality because you’re opening yourself up as a person to like be more personable.
That’s just, you know, as your career.
Bryan: [00:19:24] It goes a long way.
Humberto: [00:19:26] Definitely for sure.
Bryan: [00:19:29] I like that point too, because I’m also the same way I always ask for things, even if I don’t need it just out of curiosity, like how many yeses will I get? How many nos will I get? You know, like, you’d be surprised at how many yeses you actually get just by asking.
Humberto: [00:19:45] For the people that are starting and you know, you’re starting something new. You can be experienced in real estate or you’re doing something new in real estate. You get a lot of nos, but collect those nos to learn from those nos. Nos allow you to shift that wheel on the road to your destination. Cause whenever we’re driving from point A to point B, is it just one straight shot?
Get a turn. You got to put your signals. You got to do everything for you to get there. You’re always tweaking a wheel. So, it’s great to have a plan because you know where point B is, are you going to get there? Well, the motivation is really the one that’s going to get you there and how are you going to be driving down the road? You know, you’re going to be going in a freezer. You’re going to be going in a Ferrari, like that’s you want to get there? So, take those nos and they’re not mistakes. They’re experiences that you learned from when you take them. Cause no one ever learned from winning. Everybody always learns from the mistakes. Tell me about it, man.
Bryan: [00:20:55] With that statement, let’s kind of segue over to your setbacks, please. You’re welcome to be as transparent, honest, and then tell us about your mistakes and yeah.
Humberto: [00:21:06] Yeah, we’ll after doing what? Being a part of 21 deals. Losing money and seeing how deals can go south, partnerships can diminish and whatnot. My big, and this is going to go because I’ve read some posts in the morning and last night, people that have been taking hits. Partnerships, like they go in, they steal all their money because of the LLC or whatnot, you know, I feel for them because I know these people, right?
Bryan: [00:21:41] And the idea of like your setbacks, like what exactly happened so they get a clear picture of what happened.
Humberto: [00:21:50] Yeah. Well, for those of you that are in the bear, we were buying in March through September, right? Of 2018. And in those months, it was like, high student. You know, we saw that in 2017 and then 2018, it was just rising, rising, rising, rising, rising.
We’re just like, okay, cool. Everybody’s buying the gravy train. So, we’re just like, all right, let’s go. Going into 2019 is, you know, Q4 started the market. I mean, we finished one of these houses and we finished in like record time. Like we were finished it in like two months, flipped it, put it on the market.
It didn’t sell for four months.
Bryan: [00:22:32] Wow.
Humberto: [00:22:33] And so, and we got one offer and then it was just like, nope, that’s not cutting it. And little did we know that? Because we kept it, it was going to go even more negative. We’re just like, what the hell is going on? Like you have cops, like there was a house that comped out and it’d like, it sold for like the 1.3. So, we’re like, yes, we’re going to hit like the one to five that we need. And hell no! Office weren’t coming in. Even if you hang the cops. So that that’s how… if you go back a year ago, you will put something in the market and you will get like 15, 18, 20 offers. If you got like second and third and you still didn’t get the house. But now, fast forward to today. You’re putting something on the MLS, just sell and you’re not getting an offer for a couple of weeks. My boy, Gary that’s in the East Bay, he was going on 28 days. He came to the weekly huddle. He’s like, “Cookie, I don’t know what the hell is going on. Like, I haven’t gotten an offer. I have the top agent.” And I’m like welcome to the club.
Bryan: [00:23:41] Ouch.
Humberto: [00:23:42] Yeah! Ouch! He bought, he got an offer. So, if you’re going to sell it, but the amount of buyers are not there anymore partly because of, you know, the trade wars and Chinese money has dried up. So now it’s, dude, I know that Chase Bank, just with their mortgage side.
Bryan: [00:24:04] Wow. I did not know that.
Humberto: [00:24:06] Yeah. So, Chase did well here locally, like on my street. And so that starts giving you a sense of like, okay, now, that’s what they did pre-2008. So, they know that it’s going to stabilize. So right now, it’s stabilizing. It’s correcting. Whether it’s going to go into a recession, we’ll have a good feeling.
We’ll know probably later on this year, you can definitely feel it because of the buyers. There are some more cash buyers, people, or the people that are putting in the officer of double income. No kids. Yeah, individuals that want to buy a house and, you know, you’re closing the house in 30 to 45 days when you used to close it in.
Like, so yeah. Money is danger right now.
Bryan: [00:24:52] So what are your lessons learned from this property?
Humberto: [00:24:55] What will it do for all the properties?
And who whoever’s watching this. However, many times you got to replay this. Take out your pencil right now, and I’m going to give you one word and this one word is probably going to… literally going to set you free, but it’s being transparent. Transparency. Period. Transparency. Period. Transparency. Period.
Why? Because when things go south, people started getting emotional people’s money is in there. The contractors. There are so many people involved in a real estate transaction. It’s crazy, especially if you’re flipping. But why say transparency? You got to share the good, the bad and the ugly. Because you’re doing… you as an individual, regardless of whether you let the money in there, or you’re the one doing the rehab, they’ll go to the band though. You share that so you can prepare everybody, and everybody can start working as a team to be able to see what the worst can come. And I’ve seen, I’ve seen people, I’ve seen investors that the deal starts going south and then they walk away. You start walking away investments that got the money, or like, this is going to end bad like it’s not going to sell. They’re just like nowhere else to be found. Well, how much that, that sets you back as a, like, in terms of mindset and as a person. It’s crazy. And so that’s why I took, you know, even though that we’re going through these motions, that these houses are not selling for what they were supposed to, they’re not hitting their ARV. We were doing everything in our power to like finish them off and putting on the market and sell them for what they are. Working as a team and letting everybody know like, this is a good, the bad and the ugly. This is what, you know, if it goes south, this is what we can expect.
This is what we’re going to do too. Make the best out of this situation. And just having those conversations. And you can’t believe how much I’ve been humbled by those conversations. Like tough conversations. No one wants to have those. Everybody wants to hear that, “Hey, I got, you know, I already so much money for this new deal. We just wholesaled this much.” You know, but no one ever talks about the, you know, when it goes south, like you started seeing people, they put up their successes on Facebook, but no one puts their failures up. Or when they’re getting kicked in the teeth.
Bryan: [00:27:48] Appreciate you being transparent now. You were definitely falling out that what you’re preaching is transparency. You know, being open and talking about these negative experiences hurt. Reset.
Humberto: [00:28:02] It makes me a human man. And it’s funny how much I had in common with some of these people that are at the surface, we were just doing business, but we never got to really talk. Through these situations, you really got to know each other. And that really, we were in the same boat. You know, the relationship that they had with their father is really similar to what I’m doing and dealing with. And so, you just humanize yourself as a person with these individuals. And you see that you’re not perfect, that’s just life roll with the punches. But just like Rocky said, it’s not how hard you can hit because how hard you can hit is, you know, you’re going to make all these successes, but how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward, how much you can take and keep moving forward – like that is really what builds person. That’s what builds the character behind someone to keep moving forward. Definitely. And those are the people that stay in the market. So those are people that become those successes in life because they keep going.
If you’re weak at heart or weak in mind, you’re taken out.
Bryan: [00:29:23] Definitely man. I agree with that statement, you know, it’s a tough road. I mean, no one likes to leave. But I think, getting humble is builds a stronger foundation for you going forward. And next time you see something similar, like signs of it, you know exactly how to deal with it, you know?
Like you said before, when we first started the podcast, you want to start when you were still young. Yeah. Blows and get back up and guess what you’re doing said, you’re taking the blows right now. So, you have 20, 30, 40, more years left to invest. You’re going to look back on this moment, five years from now, ten years now. And you will giggle about it because you will look at these times, these bad times as the funny moments to who you are today and a true testament to yourself to continue pushing, continue going, not give up. You know, like you said before, not getting knocked down really hard, it’s difficult, but the fact that you’re pushing yourself forward again through baby steps, you’re compounding your actions yet. And it’s just a matter of time before you hit a new momentum.
Humberto: [00:30:30] Yeah. And that’s the thing I’m in the midst of this. This is really what I want to share because when you’re in the midst of this, you’re stressing out. You can’t sleep. You’re going to sleep in the fiddled position and you’re sleeping like a couple hours. Then you’re just thinking about the situation, how to make it work. One of the biggest things that helped me was just reaching out to other investors, other people that had more trans than me. So, don’t think that you’re going to take this on by yourself. There are people that have been down that road.
There are people that have been down that road and that you can go and talk to. And when I had, when I got the opportunity to talk to these individuals had either been there or currently going through it, it lifted this huge weight off my shoulders. I’m like, oh, this happens. This is something that happens. Like it happens to the best of us, always. It’s how you pivot. It’s how you take that energy and keep moving forward. And in the midst of it, man, I was like, we weren’t getting it managing like nine projects at the same time. We weren’t getting any money coming in to be able to pay for, you know, filming into the year. I wasn’t going. There was no money coming into in terms of revenue that I could pay my credit cards. I could pay my bills. So, you literally have to pivot in the moment to be able to do what you can to survive. And that’s what makes you a badass. And that’s what makes who you are, because you’re faced with a situation you’re just like, damn. Right? I got a pivot. I got to pivot. And I got to tell you in the midst of this, because of my personal finances, I was just like, I need to make quick and cashflow. And it’s funny because with Grant Cardone, we’re in a Mastermind and I got to speak to him and he was like, what would you do if you’re my age. I’m 25 and he was telling me like when I was 25 [inaudible] but little did I know I should have been owning the dealership, not working inside of it. Cause he started later in his years. Right?
Bryan: [00:32:47] Yeah.
Humberto: [00:32:48] And, uh, and he was just like, “Cookie, cash is not King, where people say it. Cash flow is King because that’s money that’s coming in, regardless.”
Bryan: [00:32:59] Agreed.
Humberto: [00:32:59] And I’m like, well, great. And he just gave me that concept and he was just like, “Just remember that Cookie say with me, cashflow is king.”
Bryan: [00:33:09] This has cashflow on it?
Humberto: [00:33:11] Yeah. Yeah. So, this dude was just like, okay, I don’t have, I don’t have the money to go buy a freaking dealership or a bunch of houses in the Midwest that will cash up 300 bucks. What is it? What can I do now to be able to pivot and be able to create that just for myself? It wasn’t even for the best, it was just for me, personally. And so, I ended up going and I literally, I am not joking you all the stress that I was feeling in that moment, from that, you know, the market changed and everything, but I’m a big believer in, it’s not what the market is doing. It’s what you are doing in the market. And so, I started Airbnb. I started renting houses and putting them on Airbnb. I just started with my first one, which I screwed up completely. I did all of the things that guy was. I was the one cleaning I was, I mean, I did everything. Everything in the book, even though like I had a course that taught me like what to do and whatnot. I’ve never done that before. That was my first one that was back in February. And so, I took all that energy, all that stress. And literally I took Airbnb like a drug. I was just like, this is a thing that’s going to allow me to breathe in these times of hardship. What’s going to take my mind until the vacation into something else, thinking of something else, something that I can control, something that I can manipulate. The markets, not against me, but I can choose to do what I can in this house, I’m renting it out and then it was subletting me out. So, I’m furnishing it. I’m putting it up on Airbnb. And next thing you know, that was in February. We are in what, October? Yesterday I got into contract number 11, 12 and 13 Airbnb.
Bryan: [00:35:08] Wow.
Humberto: [00:35:08] So we’re up to 13. That’s a dozen. And what is seven months? Eight months? So getting 13 listings out on Airbnb where we rented out or we help homeowners where we partner up and then we co-host it. I love that man. And that is cashflow man. Like the type of cashflow that you, that we’re experiencing now, and especially in high season is for real, it is, is unreal. And I was like, BS. Like that is not possible. First one, it was is still my cash cow that is producing like two times what I paid for rent for granted. You could’ve never told me in my life that I would ever be paying three to four grand for four property per month as rent. But when those numbers make sense, got down. Keep it going. How many can I get? So just shifting that energy into another, you know, mate, you got to make good with what you have in that stressful situation, but turn it into something that’s going to help you, propel you into the future. And now we’re innovating like on the Airbnb side. Can I give you guys a little, a little taste of what’s to come?
Bryan: [00:36:26] Sure. Go ahead, man.
Humberto: [00:36:28] Sure you ready for this?
Bryan: [00:36:29] Yes, do it!
Humberto: [00:36:30] Let me ask you a question first. When you were growing up, what’d you grow up with the super Nintendo, the Nintendo 64?
Bryan: [00:36:38] Nintendo 64. That was my jam man.
Humberto: [00:36:41] That’s your jam? Alright, I’m going to twist this little camera. So, when we get these houses, we usually have a two-car garage, right? Now I was using the two car garages at the Airbnb. That’s just storage for the furniture for the next one. And I’m like, wait, I have an empty garage.
Bryan: [00:37:01] It turns your game room? That’s pretty sick, man. Whoa. Wow. I can see Humberto is showing me it’s screen full Nintendo games in the back, controllers, Wiis, Yoshi game, Super Mario. Wow. That’s really, really cool.
Humberto: [00:37:20] Turn some of these two car garages into like either man caves or Nintendo game rooms, like just have like all this stuff. Dude, people that are renting, like if you see the demographic of people that are on Airbnb. They grew up on this.
Bryan: [00:37:37] Definitely!
Humberto: [00:37:38] Just like, how about you do an upsell that you get the, you know, they’re going to stay in the house, but the garage is something that I can like isolate and if you want to pay for it, and yes, it’s an upgrade. You’re selling me on it. And so, I had these for the longest time in my closet and I never collected, but thinking about it in the business sense where it’s going to give you a return on the investment.
Bryan: [00:38:07] Awesome.
Humberto: [00:38:08] Bring it on!
Bryan: [00:38:09] Love it dude! Always intervening. That’s why I love talking to you now.
Humberto: [00:38:14] And that’s the thing like there’s only one Airbnb out there that’s a Nintendo, it’s a one room. So, we’re going to be the first. Single family home house that has this available to people. So, people are going to be playing with the whole family, like kids and everything. This is fun. This is my personality right there. Like the kids, you know, like when you used to do this… remember? The nostalgia behind that?
Bryan: [00:38:51] [inaudible]
Humberto: [00:38:52] Who knew that Nintendo or games were going to like start putting a, like a dent in like, you know, the real estate. How you can view this stuff. But dude, Airbnb is like, your imagination goes wild, just possibilities. So, you heard me go through my frequent stressful times and don’t get me wrong. They’re still not done.
Bryan: [00:39:12] Yeah.
Humberto: [00:39:13] But how do you transfer that energy to something that’s going to push you, propel you into the next level and that’s up to you to find that way cause you ain’t going to sit or asleep in the fetal position all night.
Bryan: [00:39:33] Yeah.
Humberto: [00:39:33] You got to turn that energy into something else. Cause it’s going to be good. And you just got to keep moving forward. And this is something that we’re testing out and like people are actually booking and we just threw like the little console. The ones that have like the Nintendo classic.
Bryan: [00:39:53] Yeah. I really liked that story, man. Cause it was very relatable to how I felt last year. So last year was my first year, full time. Real estate was literally down to like, what is it? $3,000 in my bank account. And that was it. I was like, Oh, I got to make something happen, you know. It’s not power of broke. It’s like when you know, you have no other options, you would do things you would never do. Nah, you know, you ask questions you will never ask. You reach out to people that you never reach out. Cause the end of the day, you’re super desperate to make something happen, you know? And that’s when amazing happens to be honest, when you’re backed into the wall, now you have no place to go, but up. You pushed for it. And you know, for you, you pivot over to Airbnb. And for me, I pivot away from flipping over to apartment investing. So, the concept is the same. I need a cash flow. And then I thought like getting cash, like Humberto said, Cookie said before. It’s great. But it’s not the same. It’s never reliable to get constant cash. You need something that’s passive that always comes in that always take care of you in all the, all the times. You know? No, that’s when it really to relate to each other, like I can see that feeling, that the desperation feeling that I felt so strongly last year, I was like, oh my God, I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t eat. I was like, I’m out of money. I stopped paying my mortgage, my parents’ mortgage, like damn, you know.
Humberto: [00:41:24] Good. It hits you. And that’s that, those are the times that you appreciate because it belittles you so freaking much more like, what the hell are you going to do?
Bryan: [00:41:35] Exactly?
Humberto: [00:41:36] What are you going to do to make this happen?
And that’s the thing, because I sure like exactly what you were talking about me. In like coming into the year, December coming into the, into the new year, I had $3,400 left. Literally. I started thinking about my minimum payments on all my credit cards and everything. I’m just like, dude, I got three and a half months to live.
Bryan: [00:42:00] How’s things exact same way. I’m like, Oh, I have two months left.
Humberto: [00:42:07] You’re like, you’re going to die. He’s going to run out. You stay waiting. And it’s just going to hit you. Right. And dude that’s when you, like you said, you do the things that you, that just go and make it happen. Like tell me what we got to go do. Like elevation. Don’t worry. I got that. It’s called desperation. It’s called, like, let’s do this.
Bryan: [00:42:31] Talk to people. I’m sure [inaudible] it and just tell me the truth.
Humberto: [00:42:35] And that’s the thing like I needed, it’s still made 1700 bucks at least to make my minimum payments on all my stuff. So, I want to go like negative and whatnot. And I’m like 1700 bucks. Where am I going to generate this stuff? What am I going to be borrowing it for the family? What am I going to be doing? And dude, right when I started getting this, dude, even the first Airbnb wasn’t making money in terms of what it was making now. That one house, if I just had that one house, if you could strip everything away and I just had that one house, that thing makes anywhere from three to five grand. Well, no, I’m just like that one house. And I was just like, I’m like my brother makes 4 grand a month. Its houses working harder than him. What if I get another one or do I get another one? What if I get another one and another one? And another. And another. And that’s why I told you, I freaking got this like a drug now. Now I’m able to see, I’m not looking from a desperation mass point because now I know that I’m going to be paying my stuff, but. Now it’s just like, it interests me. Like I saw all the strategies that are like going into multifamily, going into like getting single family homes and whatnot, but I need this stuff now. Like I needed money like now. And that’s what I was just like, I can’t be selling drugs out there. Like what the hell? I can’t go back to the street live. Right?
You start the hustle. That’s what really happens. You start hustling very differently than you would with, you know, with the cushy lifestyle. And you go to these meetings, you present yourself. You’re will fake it till you make it. And when you make it, you keep going. Cause you keep growing as a person.
And that’s the thing. That’s what makes us, you and I, different. The people that can focus and laser focus on whatever the situation is. And freaking obliterated. That was my thing. Like coming out of college, all my brothers were, you know, we’re four guys, I’m a twin and everybody had a job everywhere, but he was making money.
I was coming out of college and I was broke as hell. In debt. And how the hell am I going to get out of here? Right. I literally became obsessed with ways to make money and how money worked to the point where like money now gravitates towards me. It’s funny cause now I articulated different because of grant Cardone and how he says it. And it’s funny. The universe just comes towards you because you become successful at what you’re doing. Now, looking back, it’s just, you had the hustle, the opportunity and the hustle came together to make that perfect opportunity to feed you. And if anybody’s watching this and you’re in that situation, I know how it feels. But looking at your cards and seeing what you can play out. Ask the questions don’t be afraid to ask for help. Cause that’s usually when you start learning the most from other people, everybody thinks that they can just, make the solution happen in their head. But really, you know, just talking to someone else just like this is really going to propel them into like the solution that they need and guidance to where they have to be.
So, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s tough, but it’s not impossible.
Bryan: [00:46:17] Exactly, man, well said.
Humberto: [00:46:19] Yeah. Cause every step, the momentum that you need behind it, it’s attainable. And with the right guidance from people from asking us, you can reach me out on Facebook and everything, but I always love like, you know, sharing knowledge, doing mic drops. Cause I would love to see the person that sees this and they’re going through that situation right now. And I’m not talking just real estate. I’m talking like they’re going through a divorce, they’re going through losing something. It’s just life. And how you come out of that and turn that energy into something positive that actually benefits you instead of like drains you that’s when you start seeing, you know, what you’re made of what’s under the hood.
Bryan: [00:47:08] Definitely, man. Well said. Well, as we are approaching end of the show, I usually end it with two questions. Yeah, sure. I think the first question is what’s your favorite book?
Humberto: [00:47:18] What’s my favorite book? And I will tell you to read this over and over and over, but it was How to Win Friends and Influence People.
Bryan: [00:47:27] I love that book. By Dan Carnegie. Yeah.
Humberto: [00:47:30] After I read that how I carry myself is way different. Yeah, read that book really, at least every, every year. Awesome. You get new things out of it.
Bryan: [00:47:45] Awesome. I love the book too. And the second question is how can our listeners find out more about you? How can you reach out to you?
Humberto: [00:47:52] Hit me up on Facebook! Hit me up on Facebook, that’s the best way, because whether I’m international or here, local I’m connected to the internet. And so, Facebook is the best way. Humberto Gaeta. Or my Instagram, I changed my Instagram too @cookieismarketing. So, feel free to reach out, feel free to just send that message. Cause there’s going to be a lot of people that sees this. They see a lot of podcasts, zoom, like live like this, but they never reach out.
Don’t be afraid to reach out to these people that you see that are having their success because everybody’s on the same pedestal. We’ve been there, done that. And if anything, we can help each other. It might be a listener that’s in you and met you, has never met me or vice versa, and they can get value from just sitting down, having coffee, if they’re local, or just having a little FaceTime call, whether they’re in another country or in another state.
For those out there my biggest, last words would be, don’t be afraid to reach out. And even if you see this reach out as a message, or just saying, thank you for the words that’s always well taken.
Bryan: [00:49:07] Yeah. That’s great man. And three areas that agree don’t be afraid to reach out to any of us. We’re always here to respond. Really quickly too. So, don’t be afraid. All right, man. Awesome. Thank you for sharing your story on the podcast. I really appreciate it. Make her be in the podcast as well.
Humberto: [00:49:27] Let’s do this and we’ll catch the drinks later on and there were more than add some more value to some people.
Bryan: [00:49:34] Awesome. Thank you.
Humberto: [00:49:35] Awesome. Alright. Take it easy.