Ralph DiBugnara the President of Home Qualified talks about the beginning of his career in the mortgage space. Ralph describes how he built his business and emphasizes the importance of building relationships. Ralph discusses supply chain issues and how he educates his sphere on this topic. Next, Ralph short-term rental market, primary residence and investment. Last, Ralph talks about his Disruptors Network Podcast and how he started and built it.
Please subscribe to Ralph’s Disruptors Network Podcast here.
If you’d prefer to watch this interview, click here to view on YouTube!
Ralph DiBugnara can be reached here.
This episode was brought to you by Real Geeks.
D.J. Paris 0:00
On today’s episode, we’re going to discuss the biggest issue facing real estate agents today housing supply shortages and what that means for your business now and through the end of the year. This episode of Keeping it real is brought to you by real geeks, how many homes are you going to sell this year? Do you have the right tools? Is your website turning soft leads and interested buyers? Are you spending money on leads that aren’t converting? Well real geeks is your solution. Find out why agents across the country choose real geeks as their technology partner. Real geeks was created by an agent for agents. They pride themselves on delivering a sales and marketing solution so that you can easily generate more business. There agent websites are fast and built for lead conversion with a smooth search experience for your visitors. Real geeks also includes an easy to use agent CRM. So once a lead signs up on your website, you can track their interest and have great follow up conversations. Real geeks is loaded with a ton of marketing tools to nurture your leads and increase brand awareness visit real geeks.com forward slash keeping it real pod and find out why Realtors come to real geeks to generate more business again, visit real geeks.com forward slash keeping it real pod. And now on to our show.
Hello, and welcome to another episode of Keeping it real the largest podcast made by real estate agents and for real estate agents. My name is DJ Paris, and I am your guide and host through the show. And in just a moment, we’re going to be talking about housing supply issues and what you can do about it, what it means for the future of the industry and also your business. We’re going to be speaking with Ralph debug Nara from New York. He’s amazing. He’s got lots of insight into this particular issue. And we’re all dealing with it. So very excited. But before we get to Ralph, just a couple of quick reminders. First, please remember to tell a friend about our show. That’s the way we grow. We’re so grateful to everyone who’s listening. So please any other agent that you think could benefit please send them a link over to our website, keeping it real pod.com or pull up a podcast app search for keeping it real and have them hit that subscribe button. And then last please, please please leave us a review and whatever podcast app you might be listening that really helps us continue to improve the show and give you guys better content so you can even get more value. But enough about that. Let’s get to our interview with Ralph debug Nara.
Today on the show we have Ralph de Bognar, let me tell you about route. Now. Ralph is a Brooklyn native and he’s also the president of home qualified, which is a digital resource for buyers, sellers and real estate agents as well as also being the vice president of Cardinal financial, which is a national mortgage loan company behind 28 billion of closed loans. Now he’s Ralph is a recognized real estate and mortgage expert. He has over 20 years of industry experience specifically working with the millennial demographic. Now prior to being at home qualified, Ralph served as vice president of retail sales at residential home funding RHF, where he established the Consumer Direct division which was created to service RHF customer’s needs through a variety of affiliate programs that offer special values and discounts based around the someone’s profession or association. He’s also a competitive athlete, and he’s been battle tested in boxing rings, and Spartan courses. Ralph is also a radically innovative mortgage banker and real estate expert. He applies the same relentlessness and fraud and ferocity for winning, to helping new homebuyers find and finance their dream homes. He’s an entrepreneur at heart, Ralph builds businesses and advises individuals to create wealth through real estate, personal branding and their own business ventures. Please visit Ralph at his website, which is Ralph debug narra.com I’m going to spell that for you. Ra LPH and then DIBUGN A R a.com. And also please follow him on Instagram at DIB ug so the first five letters of his last name di be ug Ralph, welcome to the show.
Ralph DiBugnara 4:32
Thanks. I really appreciate you having me. It’s a great intro. Thank you.
D.J. Paris 4:35
We well we’re excited to have you as well. I know you’ve have a lot of experience in this industry from from an investor perspective from a financing perspective. And also I definitely would love to hear about the athlete part of you and and also learning if there are habits and disciplines that you have, you know that you would have to have to be competing at the law Apple you are physically and if that translates over into the business world, but I would love to go all the way back to the beginning and really learn about how you got into real estate in the first place if you don’t mind sharing?
Ralph DiBugnara 5:11
Sure, yeah. I think my story is like a lot of people I got in a little bit by accident and a little. So in 2001, I had graduated college, kind of because I had you not because I wanted to, I just kind of made it through what a finance degree but I wasn’t really thrilled about being in school. I think the last day I ever showed up at my college was the last day my last class, I never picked up my diploma. But I remember being a really stressful time because I didn’t know what I was going to do with my life. And I didn’t know where I was gonna go at work. And I had a friend who was in mortgages at the time. And I, I was selling copiers for Canon like door to door at that moment at that moment in Manhattan, which was Wow, nightmares, to be totally honest, it was it was not an easy to knock on, you go into a building, you just knock on doors, and so somebody would talk to you. So I was like, I need to change. And I was looking at, I think enterprise rent a car at the time for their like a training program. And my friend was like, Hey, I’m in mortgage, I’m doing really, really well. It’s a new startup company that gonna go public. I get into the sales training program, it’s a month training, and they put you on the phone. You didn’t have to be licensed at that time, is it you’re not going to rent cars come do this. So I got in, and it was a really good time to get in at the time. It was it was a tough job market because the at the time that.com bubble had just burst. Yeah. And it’s eerily similar to what’s going on now with tech stocks that were very over inflated.
D.J. Paris 6:32
I have I can I pause for a second, I have a great I, you know, I don’t know how many of our listeners were around back then. But I do. I just want to mention I, this is this is such a funny thing. I have a letter that. So I’d graduated college in 99. So I’m about the same Yeah. And so in 1999, the tech bubble had not yet burst, right. And so my friend who was taking over or becoming an apprentice to his father’s financial advisory business, and anyway, sent me a letter because I said I should probably I did my first job out of college, I was like, I should probably put some money into some outside of my 401k, maybe just a few bucks, you know, a month into some sort of investment strategy. And he goes, I have this letter he sent me this is back when we wrote letters. And he said, I have these great tech stocks last year. They were they were I’m sorry, they were tech mutual funds. Because last year, they were up like 87%. And so I kept the letter, because obviously the next year, it all went away. And I said, Can you believe you wrote this letter to me? Because oh my god, I’m so embarrassed that I ever. So anyway, sorry. It just reminded me
Ralph DiBugnara 7:41
what it was? Yeah, it was it was it’s a little similar to what’s going on this day and age, but there weren’t a lot of jobs. So I kind of got into mortgages, because it was what was available to me. And there weren’t a lot of other jobs. And it was a good time to get into mortgages. And that’s how I got started. Sure.
D.J. Paris 7:57
Yeah. And so and getting into mortgages, is I think it’s such a tough business, because you really have I think, loan officers, it’s tough because they, they really have to serve a lot of different masters, right, they have to make sure that every person involved in a transaction is happy and satisfied, including the client, the realtors, the attorneys, you know, the title companies, again, depending on what, you know, what state you practice, and, but also, just from a marketing perspective, I think, you know, realtors, loan officers, really have very similar jobs as far as trying to build their business. Um, can you talk us tell us a little bit only because I think even for our audience, which are predominantly realtors, I think just hearing about how you built your business would be super helpful. Like, were you were you partnering with realtors? Were you going directly to the public? Were you trying a little bit everything.
Ralph DiBugnara 8:51
So from where it started to where it is now a completely different options, the opposite end of the spectrum, but I you know, I started really in a lead model, where we were getting leads every single day. And it was easy at that point. And to be totally honest with you, for my first three years in the business, most of my business would refinance business, because it was the first real drop in the market. And we would do and refunds were easy. What I learned now, you know, hindsight is 2020 is that, you know, buyers and realtors are really the key to building a business that’s long lasting, and it’s a better quality of life than being stuck to your desk and answering the phone all day. So for cold calls, but essentially, so you know where it starts where it is now. Now my contribution really is built around bringing value to mostly and real estate agents, for better or worse, and some mortgage guys will admit that some are still the best source of business there always was a business right? So trying to bring value around Realtors at this point is really my main function every single day as the head of and we have about 250 salespeople between myself and my partner as our mortgage division. We did about 6000 loans last year for around 2 billion. So it was a lot of business. And I would say 75% of it is realtor referral base from realtor. So a lot of what we do now is still really based around that as our as our main partner and I’m a consumer. So what you said is very, very true. It’s not only making sure the customer is happy, it’s making sure that the realtor has a value partner, that’s making sure one of their Commission’s are protected one. And secondly, that they’re adding something that’s not just the same as the next guy is doing. And I think we, I tried to be unique in that way, whether it’s through social media or to marketing, or it’s through specific campaigns that each realtor is adding value to help them build their bid to help them build a business and not just the pipeline, right, like how we help each other build businesses long term and not just building your pipeline today.
D.J. Paris 10:41
Yeah, I think that’s that seems to be what the most successful Elos loan officers that I’m aware of do. And they’re they’re very generous with, you know, partnering and saying, How can I help you build your business? And I’m curious, how did you go about, you know, I know, you sort of you have your own firm, how did you go about making the transition from being sort of a worker bee and being on the front lines to saying, Okay, I want to manage, you know, a whole team here and kind of build it up. Obviously, that’s a very challenging thing to do. It’s a super competitive landscape, although maybe, maybe not if you had all these great relationships built in advance. But I mean, it’s still competitive, of course, but just curious about how you made that transition to sort of, you know, becoming an entrepreneur.
Ralph DiBugnara 11:27
So it kind of went up and then down and then up again. Oh, oh, 1207, I was a loan officer for a couple of years. And I was promoted to Assistant Vice President with a company that eventually became Deutsche Bank, a pretty big, large company, and then they got rid of us in 2007. So when they got rid of us in 2007, I was this manager, who really only new people within my company, which is my first mistake, because I hadn’t really built a network outside of my company. So when I lost my job, everybody else lost their job. So it was a rough three or four years for me. Besides losing everything, I was really starting over. And I, what I went back to being was a loan officer again. So I went from being this person who was running a very, very large group, too. So the only thing I could really earn money at the time was being a loan officer again. And it took a little bit of a, a year of getting humbled by the market. To me, for me to go back to doing that, again, I was trying to avoid it at all costs, which I was telling the young people in my office yesterday, actually, in hindsight, hindsight, being 2020, again, was that that was stupid, because it’s somebody who’s a direct sales person, whether you’re a realtor or a loan officer, you can have a network that’s yours that you own forever. And the truth of the matter if I was, if I stayed a loan officer throughout that market crash, and all that stuff, I would be much more insulated from suffering that I was as a person in management, because I would have had these relationships that were mine. And people still have to close on loans. So there’s always business there. So when I started to rebuild it again in 2008, and then nine and 10, when I realized that I had to get out and I really started trying to tackle relationships, and around 13, or 14, I started putting myself out front, through social media and outlets like that to generate more value on myself. So even today, what I really lead with to run a group of people, and you’ll definitely understand that cuz you have 700, realtors, 800 realtors, is I have to provide some kind of value to them, that they’re not getting someplace else. And my value always starts with relationships. So it’s my relationships that helped me get business from realtors, it’s my relationships that helped me grow my the people around me on social media through it, getting them more exposure. So I really try to lead with that value proposition. I’m the person that you can be in business with. And I see myself as a partner, even for the people that are underneath me, like they have to get something out of the relationship, just like I have to, and how can I help you grow your business, and I really do that through a lot of people coming to me to give me the business and then me dispersing it to other people. So that’s really the black and white, what’s helped me grow the business, it always starts directly with the our direct consumers and our direct referral sources. And I tried, every day continue to grow those no matter where I am, in my business, I try to grow those every single day.
D.J. Paris 14:07
You know, as I was thinking, when you were thank you for sharing that I think that is it’s it’s something that isn’t as common as one might think with, with loan officers. I know, like we, we tend to recommend, there’s there’s a great loan officer here that we work with locally, that we tend to push a lot of business to as most as best we can. However, I was just thinking about this, when you were mentioning that we have, you know, close to 800 agents. I was just realizing I don’t get these phone calls anymore than I used to. And I’m kind of like in charge of the marketing, sort of for our company. And I certainly used to get these phone calls from mortgage lenders who would say hey, I want to, you know, get in front of your agents. And I just realized I haven’t had one of those calls in years and I just realized how shocking that is that you would think that I’m getting would do get calls every day saying, you know, hey, you guys have 800 agents, I would love to get in front of your agents almost never do we get those calls. And it is shocking because there’s got to be at least 1000 ellos, here in Chicago, probably more. And so I think this, this point to your saying about partnering with either the brokerage or with the agent directly, is so important. And the good news is to so if you’re an agent that’s listening, you might not be getting those calls, either, right? So I know I’m not getting them. And so this is an opportunity, I think, to really, you know, think about who do you Who do you like on the ELO side? And who do you want to partner with that can actually help you, you know, whether it’s through social media or through doing events or, you know, branding or or, you know, physical mailers or whatever it might be? I don’t think there’s that. I think agents oftentimes have to go looking for those opportunities with loan officers, as opposed to waiting for that phone to ring and saying, hey, I want to help you build your business.
Ralph DiBugnara 16:01
Yeah, and you know, so two points that you just made me think I think the first thing is because the Mark has been so busy for the last three years, that a lot of loan offers loan officers that I’ve seen it within my group have gotten used to the phone ringing and fire hose, they and they got away from what they’re going to need now again, which is they need to go out and bring value to get the business out of Realtors, because you don’t see officers at open houses anymore, either. And I preach to my people, every single weekend, you should get a zip code, you should look at every single open house, you should show up every single day doesn’t say, hey, I’ll work you up. And, and you know, to be honest with you, our best leads still come from open houses, those are people who are actively looking, they still the best leads. And so we make it a point to work open acid and make a point to still have events that are gonna bring value to the realtors, we’re still doing all that stuff. I think that’s where the mortgage people have gotten away from, and you’ll see it come back because now they needed it again. But when they didn’t need it, they didn’t have the foresight to say, Hey, I still have to be adding referral partners every single month to make sure because you may have an agent. And again, you’ll understand because you have any agents, you have an agent to get one deal a year from but that it’s a valuable deal. Because if you have enough of those people, it makes sense for you as a loan officer. So I think people just got away from the things that were working. Because it was so easy to do business.
D.J. Paris 17:17
Yeah. It’s funny, I was I was thinking back when you started to that was kind of the era of incredibly low rates, interest only loans, you know, times where I remember somebody refinanced. I wasn’t in this industry, but I just remember it, it was like 2%, the two point something it was based on LIBOR. And I don’t know if rates are still based on LIBOR, but, but it was it was just a whole different world. And then, of course, the collapse. And now, you know, in the last couple years that we had a bit of a rebound, because of course rates being so low, and people just have more buying power than they’ve had. And but then we also have the other side of it, which is a supply shortage. And I know that that’s something that you’re really passionate about sort of coaching people through. Can you talk a little bit about how you see sort of supply chain issues or housing shortage, supply issues and what you’re doing to sort of educate realtors or the public about how they can sort of participate still.
Ralph DiBugnara 18:16
So So I saw an article last week, I read a market watch, I think that it had some alarm, it was maybe two weeks ahead, some alarming statistics. And it was this physics work done by a company called alto, she’s like a market research company for real estate anyway, there’s only 274,000 homes listed in the whole entire country right now. The country so and a healthy average nationally is somewhere between 800,000 and a million. So we’re about 600,000 homes short of a healthy average, which means it’s the same reason there’s not going to be a real estate crash again, no, definitely not now, because we’re so short on supply, and so high on demand and that shortage, you know, you’re you’re from Chicago, around that area, I’m from New York City, they’re not building we can’t build here, right? So it’s like, you know, some of these markets, you’re not going to be able to address that shortage with buildings. So that’s the first thing so I think you’re going to have a very, very low low supply for the foreseeable future. I think to deal with that as as a buyer there’s two things that we’re looking at as the first thing is is that the other thing you’re going to start reading and everybody’s reading now already is that rent had the largest raise last year that added forever and I think some cities were between 20 and 30% higher rents right? Fixing in your mortgage horse right now it’s worth going through the pain of bidding wars and overpaying a little bit and all that stuff because just being able to fix your mortgage cost right now you’re locking in value for calm and affordable yeah yeah so I think you know you see the all these Wall Street firms BlackRock and all these big Wall Street firms a buying single family homes in bulk right now, they’re doing that in my opinion, because they see a single family rental market that’s going to continue to increase they know there’s a lot of value there. So if you if you need to be on the same train I think is up Are you here to buy now and lock in your home, your home costs for the most part 90% of it to be locked in, besides your taxes, insurance, so you don’t you’re not affected by the market for the next 20 to 30 years, right? I think it’s very, very important right now to, to deal with that pressure of being in a market low supply to low cost,
D.J. Paris 20:20
I bought my first condo in 2005. And I can’t remember what my rate was, it might have been the high threes or low fours, I just I don’t remember it was a million years ago. But I was pretty happy with whatever it was, I was like, Hey, this is this is pretty low. And then I just bought a place about a year ago. And I have like a two nine, something, I think a 290 or so. And I’m just like, I get that for the next 30 years. And even though now rates have increased in anticipation of the Fed, you know, maybe mid threes, high threes, even depending on credit and everything, that’s still amazing. Like, that’s still absolutely incredible. And you’re right, it’s actually worth all of the headache. Because you’re basically a hero as an agent to a homebuyer if number one you can find them a place and get get them get their deal approved, but locking them in at that kind of a rate. I mean, it’s so funny, we’re seeing all this news about rates are going up rates are going up. And it’s like, well, yeah, except they were almost historic lows. And so it’s like, it’s still really attractive. And you’re right, you’re gonna be locking someone in. And I think the education piece is really important to to to buyers really making sure they understand, we are in a really fortunate time rate wise, and this is this is the time to really consider pulling the trigger if possible. Because, boy, yeah, you’re going to maybe you’re going to overpay, but you’re going to lock in a real nice rate for the rest of your, you know, probably adult life.
Ralph DiBugnara 21:46
You ended on the head. I mean, that’s why I was born. And I think that’s where people get frustrated. And, you know, I was saying yesterday, I was like, you know, I know it’s a bar, it’s very, very frustrating to get outta bed all the time, and you’re waiting on line to get open houses. But it doesn’t feel like this, but you’re getting an education, right, that house that you didn’t get gives you a better idea of where the market is where the price has to be, how quick of a decision you have to make and what you really need what you really have to have, right cuz you’re gonna compromise in some way, shape or form. So I think that losing all these houses is actually the best education you can get to make you a more schooled buyer and shopper when you’re going to look but it doesn’t feel like that a lot of times because it’s, you know, even for me, I’m very active in buying in the market. And I have I know all the secrets, and it’s hard for me a lot of times so I can imagine how frustrated people have got. Have you
D.J. Paris 22:31
had just out of curiosity for your own investments? Are you doing anything more creative than then maybe you had in previous years to try to either get offers noticed or just to find sellers? I know. on the investor side there’s there’s almost an art and a science to all sorts of different ways in which you can sort of find opportunities that aren’t on the MLS or, or you know, and I’m not asking for, of course, your secret sauce. But I’m just curious if if you’ve had to get bit more creative, because of the supply shortage, just trying to find these opportunities. Are these the sellers?
Ralph DiBugnara 23:07
Yeah, I mean, I think you know, from my side, you know, to be totally honest, I wish I was better at getting stuff that at discount, but I’m not getting stuff at discount right now. Like, you know, for the most part I’m paying but what I am doing is I’m going in with a very, very strong case that I’m the buyer they want. So I show up with a what I call a TBD commitment letter. So it’s it’s a to be determined the dress, but everything else on the commitment letter is been done already. So I’ve actually been my my case has been in front of an underwriter, they’ve looked at my income and looked at my assets, I’m qualified to get the loan. So it’s not a pre approval, I’m showing up. And lenders do this, we do it as a company called null. And a lot of lenders do this, I shall put an actual commit letter, which is really as good as cash, it’s okay, for sure. All I need is appraisal title and homeowners insurance. And we will we will be good to go. So So I’m showing up that way, as far as the appraisal and inspection contingencies go because I know that to become a hot thing to waive that. I’m not waiving them. But if it’s a competitive property, I’m, I’m telling the seller that I’m going to do them still, and I reserve the right to back out of the deal. But I’m not going to hold you to anything that I find. So at least I say, Hey, you’re not going to have to do any work. I’m not going to try to negotiate the price. But I’m going to do it for my own informational purposes. And I reserve the right to back out of the deal. So I’m kind of being a little bit aggressive on that end. And, you know, I will even waive an appraisal contingency because as long as I have a mortgage contingency, which says that I cannot get qualify for a mortgage, I can get my deposit back, that I will waive the appraisal contingency because I know that I still have a backup of the mortgage. So I think I gotta be as creative as I can making the offer look as attractive as possible when I go in. Because you know, at least I’m in the game. And the other thing and this is close to you could probably speak to this even better than I can is that I’ve learned more than ever. It’s important to work with a realtor who’s very very familiar with the area I’m looking in and knows the other agents in the area. Because I found that when I’ve used agents that are outside of the areas that I’m buying in, or don’t know, everybody that I’m not getting bids, you really have to have an insider, depending on where you’re looking, I feel like to get the property. So So agents that know their market and know that people in their market are super valuable right now.
D.J. Paris 25:18
And I think it’s a huge, thank you for saying that, I think that’s a really important thing that isn’t talked about as much on our show. And it’s really important, because those relationships are, you know, I know, like, especially in these competitive bidding environments where the listing agent might have, you know, 20 Plus offers, and, you know, probably just becomes dizzying after a while, but at least when they see a familiar name, and they like, Oh, I know, I know that person. That’s, that’s a great agent. And I know that that agent isn’t bringing me a garbage client, you know, this is probably, you know, it because that agent is going to make sure that it isn’t written by, you know, a lending institution that isn’t, you know, reputable or can’t close or, you know, ones that they know, are quality. That’s really, really important. So I think for everyone listening, if you’re an agent who’s newer, or in the process of building up your business, and you’re like, Well, I don’t yet know all the, the agents in my area, go to that book, go to the broker, open houses, go to the regular open houses, introduce yourself, and say, Hey, I just wanted to come by and see this in case I have a client that you know, might be interested in, I want to just meet you in person. And I mean, that you were saying, that’s what your ellos do. And it’s it’s one of those sort of lost arts, that is so important, because you’re right, in those relationships. Look, we’re all human nature, we’d like to see people’s names that we recognize, and we like, and you know, those people, they shouldn’t get preferential treatment, but just due to human nature, that might give you a slight edge over another similar or identical offer, where they’re like, Oh, I know that agent, I’m gonna go with that agent, because I know that, you know, they’re going to probably get this deal close faster, or on time or whatever. So I, you’re right, relationships are so important, whether it’s between ello, and a broker, or I guess, in New York, not everyone’s a broker, but, you know, we’ll say real estate agent, and then real estate agent to consumer as well as is having, having, and then real estate agents, real estate agent, knowing people in your area. So this is why it’s always crazy to me to that agents who are newer to the industry aren’t being told, ask other agents in your office, if you can sit in open houses, you know, because even if you’re not allowed to keep those referrals, which most I think people would let you keep the referrals, but even if they don’t, it’s like you said it’s an education, you get to see how another producer, you know, greet somebody, when they walk in an open house? How do they let them browse around? How do they get their information, so they can stay in touch, I mean, the education there is invaluable. And in most cases, the agent will say you can keep those leads because you own them. And you’re right loan officers really should be at every single open house that they can, because and in fact, I was just talking to somebody who said that loan officers oftentimes have a higher closing percentage than the actual listing agent who’s doing the open house because a lot of times, people feel a little bit intimidated or like you just like you when you walk into a clothing store, and you see the salesperson Beeline right for you, and you’re like, oh, just leave me alone for a few minutes. Get my bearings, but the loan officer typically doesn’t do that. So I’d say if you’re an agent, bring a loan officer with you. Because then it’s not their open house. They’re just there. And and I think the it’s become sometimes a little bit easier for them to communicate with, with people walking in, because I know my guard goes up as soon as somebody approaches me in a store, not because I’m not friendly it just because I just want to be left alone a lot of times.
Ralph DiBugnara 28:47
Just let me shout. Yeah, I agree.
D.J. Paris 28:52
But I think that’s pretty cool. Because a loan officer Ken can can be at be there and say, Hey, I’m a partner of so and so this isn’t my listing. But But isn’t it cool? And they can sort of pretend like, like they’re they themselves are so impressed with the property, not pretend to hopefully be authentic. But but that puts them more on the same side is that as that buyer versus maybe the realtor who they might think, Oh, that’s a salesperson I want to start to stay away from. So it’s, I think it’s a really smart, smart idea. So for everyone listening, find a loan officer who’s willing to meet with you at your, at your open houses. And then if you don’t have any listings to do open houses, ask other agents in your office. We have, like I said, we have almost eight or you mentioned we have almost 800 agents. I don’t know how often our agents are reaching out to our other agents going Can I sit and do an open house for you and what a huge missed opportunity.
Ralph DiBugnara 29:42
Yeah, I agree with you. I think it’s I think it’s the biggest opportunity, especially in this market is the open houses is if you actually get to the point where there is an open house. They’re super busy most of the time. So it’s That’s right.
D.J. Paris 29:51
Yeah. I would love to talk to talk to you about millennials. So I’m not tech Typically a millennial but but I find that these are people who are buying homes right now, right this is this is the demographic that is either has already bought their first home or is considering it. And I know the age keeps going up for people buying their first home, especially, of course places like New York where it’s just, you know, difficult because of the pricing. But in most other markets, millennials are a key demographic to really approach and for any agent that isn’t sort of feeling like they have a lot of visibility with the millennial sort of group. Any suggestions about how they might want to go about sort of penetrating that market getting getting exposure to that market? Because it is probably a little different than you know how somebody like I was saying, I I’m not a millennial, but I would love a phone call from from a wall. I already have our ello relationships here, but but I would think I’d be getting a lot of those phone calls. I don’t I don’t get the emails or phone calls. But I’m curious if you have suggestions about how agents could could reach some of these, you know, younger buyers who maybe wouldn’t necessarily think to pick up the phone and call a realtor. You know, they’re going to Zillow, Redfin wherever, and just doing all their browsing there. And maybe they fill out a lead form online, and they get called by a bunch of Realtors, but but these are millennials aren’t typically people that talk a lot on the phone as well. So just curious if you have some suggestions about how to how to get in front of those people. I
Ralph DiBugnara 31:26
don’t think he talked on the phone because I think it’s a more educated buyer, right? Because they’re, they have access to old they’ve grown up online. And if any grew up online, that they’ve asked us to look at the stuff online. But I think for the most part, they still have very traditional values where they want to buy a house, they think it’s the foundation for building their life or family, whatever it is. So I think that they still have very traditional values. And that’s something you can hold on to right like a, you’re looking into a house, it’s an eye, they’re more investment savvy. So I think speaking to millennials about it being an investment, being a long term investment, it being the safest investment, proven over time, but now more than ever, in a volatile market, where we don’t know what stocks are going we don’t know what crypto is going. We don’t want NF T’s are going right real estate, something that’s of low supply. And people like to talk about cryptocurrency, that there’s only a certain amount of cryptocurrency in circulation? Well, I can say the same thing about real estate, right? There’s a home’s listed and there’s only a certain amount. So I think that if you if you speak to him, from the stance that this is a long term investment, it’s a grow your long term wealth, this is going to they still a very, very, they’re very interested in that because they’re also people who came of age during a market crash. So they have a little bit of a scary picture of the housing market. It’s still at this point that maybe they’ve never got past, right. So talking them as like how real estate estate the test of time since 1980. It’s outpaced the stock market as far as return on investment two to one, that’s a real stat. So I think that I reach people a lot that way would saying, Hey, this is how I’ve worked to grow secure long term wealth. And I really feel like it’s the way to do it. And because you’re financially savvy, because you have a 401 K and because you understand investing, we can really leverage that to get you into the right property that helps you in the future, either buy more properties, or just make the right buy for yourself, however that it’s going to be so I always try to leave it that when it comes to that, that that group of people.
D.J. Paris 33:27
Yeah, I think learning the lingo is really important to like, if anyone out there is not familiar with the term house hacking, get familiar with it, because it is the the term Millennials are using to, you know, live in a living maybe a three flat and rent out the other two units and have it sort of cover to cover the cost. And if that’s something that you’re like, I don’t really understand the investor world. I think Ralph Ralph is absolutely right, you’re going to be missing out on business, because you’re right, that millennial and younger generations these are, they’ve been online or essentially their whole lives. They know how to get information faster than us older people. And this is, you know, we, we I remember growing up and not of course, not having access to the internet until I was, I mean, the Internet was technically really around since since the mid 80s in any sort of real capacity, but only a very small percentage of people even even knew how to do that. But but as far as like having a browser to use that was like 9495 and there just wasn’t much content even available at that time. So and nobody really knew how to use it. Google didn’t exist, the search engines were kind of crappy. So it was it was difficult wasn’t really till till the very end of of you know, maybe 9998 where we started out okay, we can we can really get information here. But Millennials have always known how to do that. And so you’re right, like you have to know as much as they do at a at a minimum. And the good news is, you know, their knowledge is is really not that deep. It’s It’s It’s vast, but it’s it’s shallow. So They understand. And then you can come in and, and create that that additional depth. But I think that’s something that you really have to make a concerted effort for. If you’re just like, oh, I don’t deal with that, boy, I cannot tell you how many young Realtors get their license. And then they maybe they’ll join our firm and, and they’ll say to things like I really want to I really needed to do some house hacking. And I’m like, wow, I for the first eight years. As somebody who recruits realtors, nobody ever talked about it to me. And now it’s it’s really common. So, you know, that’s just one example. But you’re absolutely right, this whole investor side is this is the time to start getting educated. So that you can introduce a different stream of of clients into your business.
Ralph DiBugnara 35:45
Yeah. And again, I think that age, and I’ve gotten very heavy to the short term rental space, so Airbnb VRBO. But, and I see more and more of those people, whether they’re families that are doing it, or couples that are doing it, or they’re very interested in that space. And the younger generation is definitely looking at it because they have different character, you know, Gen Z, because they have different characteristics and different needs. But even the millennial generation now work from home and virtual learning. And that’s changed the market completely. And a lot of these people who grew up on technology can work from anywhere, right? So they’re going to live anywhere. So even more so with that as a realtor to getting to understand that that they’re willing to live anywhere, possibly to use the houses as an income source, and use it part time and live someplace bustle part time, but this the last COVID, and pandemic and all that stuff has really changed the world. As far as real estate goes, as far as I’m concerned.
D.J. Paris 36:42
You’re right. And I think too, you know, I I’ve been I traveled quite a bit during COVID, I was lucky enough to still be able to do that, you know, when it was safe to do it. And, and I met a bunch of people overseas, just randomly, who had, you know, decided to either sublease, if they were renting, you know, whatever major city they might have been in, and then just traveled sort of full time. And we met people in Croatia and Poland and, and other places, and even other places in this country where they weren’t from there, they don’t really live there. They’re just there for now. And, and they I think, you know, now being that the millennials, Gen Z are, you know, obviously spending a lot of time on tick tock Instagram, obviously, Facebook, they’re just seeing a lot of other opportunity of places to be and now that their jobs, don’t chain them to a particular desk, you have this opportunity to explain to them, Hey, you can travel around, and maybe you’ll even just rent wherever you go, if you’re just sort of going from city to city, but let’s get you some sort of permanent investment here, in your in your home area where that’s going to be generating revenue, or at least, you know, giving us some nice tax advantages, while you, you know, sort of find yourself, you know, all over the country or internationally. And I think, again, that’s just such a cool idea to bring to a millennial, or a Gen Z, or anyone really, is to say like, Hey, are you planning on staying here? And even if you’re not, well, you still probably want to invest in real estate. And here’s why. And having that conversation, you don’t have to live here kind of thing is, I think, really interesting, and probably doesn’t get discussed as much, from realtors to younger clients.
Ralph DiBugnara 38:27
Yeah, man, I think everybody, you know, everybody can be a digital nomad these days, right? You can really work from anywhere and I, I, you know, I travel a lot, I’m on a plane, once a week, you know, sometimes more than that, but I really don’t ever miss a step at this point. Because my communication can be done over zoom, I can do everything on my phone, I can really travel, do everything I have to do and never miss a step. And I think that people have learned that that’s a lifestyle, and that they can own, you know, again, for the short term rental market. And this is something that I recognize that there’s more revenue on first of all, than long term rentals. But secondly, it’s so it’s so multi use for me because I can use the homes to travel to for my my family for vacations and it’s still earn on them or it’s not, it’s not, it’s an asset still, and it’s an earning asset. So that’s great. I can bought homes in states that I either want to grow business in or can help me expand my income and or tax benefits. So it just like it’s a whole new world as far as that goes. I think if you’re a realtor in a place where you know, that makes sense, and you seem Airbnbs pop up or you’re seeing people be trapped. I think it’s something to focus on at this point. Okay. Because a lot of the realtors I reach out to and speak to them about it don’t necessarily know as much as I do about being an area that’s kind of on the come up for those reasons. Some of them do, some of them don’t. So I think that that’s in some places, if you’re a realtor who’s in any market that even looks like that a little bit. I think it’s something to definitely focus on because it could be a really good source of business for you.
D.J. Paris 39:56
Yeah, definitely. And it’s also just a way to separate yourself as an agent being able to have those conversations and I think having the tough conversations about things like is a primary home. Hey, mister, is it an asset? Hey, Mr. Mrs. buyer, who wants to look at their first home, you know, let’s talk about what an asset is. And let’s talk about, you know, the benefits of buying a primary residence living in it. And let’s also talk about investor, you know, sort of opportunities as well. And, and, you know, what is an asset? And and I think, you know, if you don’t have a good comp, comprehensive answer for is a primary residence and asset and I know, that’s a debatable topic, but somebody is going to come along and tell that person, hey, you know, because a lot of people don’t see primary residences as as assets until the day you sell them. And then they’re an asset. But But I subscribe to that model to I don’t look at my primary home. I mean, I’d love it to be an actual asset, I hope it appreciates, and I, but it’s all a guess, right? Like, I have to live somewhere. It’ll either go up or down, it doesn’t generate revenue, until the day I sell it. And then oh, by the way, I gotta reinvest all that money into the next place. I, I buy so so I don’t see it as an asset. Although, you know, maybe I’m maybe I’m thinking of it, you know, narrow too narrowly. But But yeah, invest in investments that can generate income, or at least cover expenses, or hopefully, or they just about do. And that’s, I mean, it’s such an important conversation. And I think that’s the more education and you know, agents can have and for anyone listening, he’s like, how do I get started learning. And by the way, before, I mentioned that Ralph has a podcast and I totally forgot to mention this at the beginning. We’re gonna post a link to this in our show notes. So if you’re listening on a podcast app, you can actually subscribe to Rob’s podcast right in our show notes. But he is the host of disruptors podcast sorry disruptors network podcast. So can you tell us just a little bit before before we move on about the about the show?
Ralph DiBugnara 41:56
Yeah. So it was originally something that we were doing a lot of live events before COVID happened. And then it turned into a virtual event. So the virtual events turned into me trying to have fun people like you, you know, you people who built businesses, and we’re showing people how they did it authentically. So it started the podcast started around that. And that actually turned into a TV show that streamed on everything last year, Amazon, it’s on YouTube, it’s on. It was on Apple TV, or Roku, and we’re having our second season on DirecTV, which called disruptors network. So the podcast is really turned into a mixture of that. It’s week, two weeks. One week, it’s a guest that we speak to and I’d love to have you on. We’ll talk about that. Yeah, that’d be fun, somebody who bring value. And then the next week, I do a part of the podcast called the growth project. And the growth project is all about how do you buy real estate? How do you get started buying properties? How do you invest? How do you grow a real estate portfolio? So there’s there’s that on there too, for people who are interested in strictly that? We do. I did an episode this week on red flags, red flags in a seller’s market. So I’m trying to address specific problems people are having with actually buying real estate. But that’s what the podcast is about.
D.J. Paris 43:01
I love it. And that’s called the podcast disruptors disrupter network. And by the way, you can access that as well right on Ralph’s website, which is also linked to in our show notes. And also, I want to talk about you as an athlete, because I think this is something I meant, oh, I was gonna say, by the way, one thing I forgot to say, all over the place, if you wanted to start to learn about investments, bigger pockets is really the place that you need to be aware of as an agent, because it’s the place where the vast majority are the it’s the number one spot that investors go to learn. It’s the number one online community for investors and so agents really need to be familiar with what they offer. So if your clients as I was reading this thing on bigger pockets, you’re like, I don’t know what that is. That’s the one website to know. It’s the one community to really become aware of because they are they’re the kings of teaching people how to do this and it’s just this nice little not little to large forum community and they do podcasts and other things. So definitely start bigger pockets you know, check out Ralph’s podcasts and TV show as well. But let’s I would love to talk about your, your, your your sort of athletic career, tell us a little bit about you know what that means to you and what you do there.
Ralph DiBugnara 44:14
I played sports growing up, I was always really an athlete at my worst years of being out of shape or during the market crash I think I was just in survival mode for years but I never forget I stopped that at some point but I bought competitively in my 20s You know, averages stuff, you know, turn pro but you know, Golden Gloves and stuff like that and then I got into being running races and I got into the Spartan Races or our obstacle races. And they found that I was pretty decent runner, which I didn’t realize until that point, and I was ranked pretty high up they have a pro circuit and I was ranked. I was ranked at least in the top 50 for like four or five years running and I was top 15 and 2017 I think so I haven’t won Since COVID, but I’m probably picking up again. But I think that in general for me is, I’m a morning, I’m really a morning person, I’ve naturally it’s not a force thing. And I think that everybody has their own energy when it comes to that, and I don’t think mornings is for everybody thinks I’m gonna get a better night’s and people, but you know, I’m just good in the mornings. So I really need exercise early in the day to kind of center me, or I’m all over the place. So I really do, I’ve always used fitness as a way to kind of keep me sharp. And that’s what the competitions were about. And I needed so I always kind of need something to try to train for. But what I’ve realized over life now is that I don’t need the competition’s necessarily trained for that I need to continue to be better and trained for life. Right. So I think my whole role for that at this point now is I want to do everything on a very, very high level, even that, but just to be healthy, I get up every single day and do it and I still train like I’m running races, even though I’m not running races anymore. So
D.J. Paris 45:58
well, well, it’s you know, it’s interesting I was I just before this podcast, I, I work out just three times a week, and I did it right before, before coming on the show today, right? So I do it for me, it’s in the middle of the day, just because it’s a nice break, I’m lucky enough to be able to do that. And it’s just a few blocks from from my office. So very easy to get to. But for me, I’ve always had the gym nearby. And I wasn’t doing it for years and years, I play tennis, and it’s a tennis club as well. But I wasn’t really working out. I was just playing tennis. And I had to realize that I guess 146 So I think I was about 44 When I said I think I have to get a trainer. And that was really depressing to me because I thought, gosh, I just can’t get to the gym on my own. And the reality of it is I can’t get to the gym on my own. I don’t do it. And so I thought okay, well, it’s an expensive problem to have, because then you have to hire a trainer. But but, you know, I was thinking about it too, like athletes have coaches. Right. And, and, and certainly, I mean, look just about every not not every agent I’ve ever interviewed on the show, but a lot of them have coaches as well who are big, massive producers. So this is also a great sort of thing to think about in your businesses, do you have a coach, you know, whether it’s, you know, for your physical body or for your business, I think at the very least you should have one for your business, but what I was gonna say about about getting in shape. And I have a similar similar goals to you, which is I just want to be healthy, I don’t really care how much today was lower body day, which is my least favorite of all the days. So I don’t really care how much I deadlift or squat or whatever. In fact, we change up exercises all the time. So I don’t even know what I’m really supposed to, you know, look for, as far as you know, my trainer figures all that out. But, but it has really changed the amount of energy I have. And of course, we all sort of know that. But I didn’t know it until I actually did it. And then I went well, I hate every moment of it, because it’s just pain. And it’s hard. And it’s I’m kind of a baby about it. But if I just show up and do the work, I have more energy for my business. And so and I mean, that’s like, of course that’s like basic health one on one, but boy is it made a huge difference. All the pain that I experienced in the gym today was a particularly painful day. It ultimately it’s just even just cut for stress. And and so but but yeah, it’s, it’s really important, I really encourage everyone out there, we all talk about wellness and, and everyone knows, yeah, I should work out. And I must have been saying that for the last 20 years. And then I finally just said, I’m not going to do this unless I get a trainer. And even though it’s crazy expensive, it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. And, and it also pushes me to earn a slightly higher income so I can keep paying for that. So I encourage encourage everyone to really think about their physical body and and also Realtors loan officers as well get get pulled, it’s tough to set boundaries, when you’re you know, dealing with somebody’s you know, primary home and it’s one of the largest investments they make, maybe the largest investment they’ll ever make are certainly up there. And they’re going to be really stressed. You know, the client is going to be stressed the agents going to be stressed. You know, there’s always a wrinkle, there’s always something that goes wrong in a transaction at some point. And the best thing you can do as the agent is have an outlet for that stress. So I imagine is that helpful for you as well? Does that help get rid of some of your anxiety? Or? Yeah,
Ralph DiBugnara 49:10
so much? Yeah, I mean, I think that’s how I work with a lot. I think that’s how I’m able to deal with the amount of stress that comes with the job right? Like I that really puts me and, you know, you said something about a trainer. But I think what you said is really, really important. I you know, I have accountability partners, and in some of its fitness related and some of its I said accountability traps myself, right. So what I wear a Fitbit every single day to track my steps because it just keeps me accountable to know I have to move a certain amount every single day. And I have a goal in there that I’m supposed to cross every single day and when I don’t cross it, I’m aware of it. I have a sleep tracker, and I use that to because I know I need at least six hours of sleep. That’s kind of like my sweet spot. So you know, at the end of the week, I get my report and it’s like you know, my sleep is no good last week, I have to get myself to it. So I have little reminders to keep myself accountable. Because I know if I do those little little tiny things and it Even some cameras with little tiny things, that I’m a much better person and it helps my earning potential and everything else. And it just makes me feel better. And I have an eight and a six year old and a lot of my time goes to them at this point now but you know more than anything I want to be have the energy to when I get home to give them as much attention as I’m giving everybody else during the day.
D.J. Paris 50:19
Yeah, I struggle with that a little bit myself is and I’m sure a lot of our audience can listen and just so people know, I really have a more traditional nine to five type job. So I’m not out there producing like our audience is or, you know, your your salespeople your company are. And again, you know, I have a I get to sort of mousse for the most part sort of shut down around five, six, maybe seven o’clock at latest and I don’t have to do much in the evening. But Realtors oftentimes do and loan officers do. And you know, they’re constantly, you know, people are working during the day. And so their clients are messaging them at night, and they’re getting emails and texts and trying to figure out those boundaries is not always the easiest thing. But But you’re right, like, I’ll come home, and I will have blown all my energy during the day. And then I don’t really have as much energy for my partner, my girlfriend as I as I should. And so it’s a constant sort of dance of like, yeah, how much how much but but I would have a lot less energy if I didn’t work out. And and now I’m at the point where it’s like, okay, now I have to lose a few pounds. My strength is way up, but my, my fat is way up as well. So now it’s like, oh, that I have to stop snacking. And there’s always little tweaks to make to the formula. But but you know, the physical side of it is the better and shape you are, you’re just going to have a better you’re probably just gonna have a better career. I know it’s really that simple. And you’re gonna have more energy for the people that you love in your life like your family and because because this this job is exhausting. It’s an exhausting, not my job. But But realtor, you know, job and ello jobs are. It’s tough. You’re dealing with people’s emotions and a lot of money and a lot of stress.
Ralph DiBugnara 51:59
And it’s a runaway train. Sometimes you don’t know how your day is gonna go with depending on a lot of moving parts. So yeah, for sure you need the stress reliever.
D.J. Paris 52:07
All right, Rob, I really appreciate you being on our show. This was a lot of fun for us. We really had a great conversation with you. I want to remind everyone to please check out Ralph at his website. Everything that he is involved in is right on his site, a site that’s Ralph de Bognar. att.com and that’s Ral Ph. D. Ibu G and ara.com. Also, that’s in our show notes. And check out his podcast, the disruptors network, you can find it anywhere podcasts are served, just do a search for disruptors network and you’ll find it and then also, what’s the best way that is for them to find your show as well is that that’s also on your website, I assume
Ralph DiBugnara 52:44
it’s on my website. And my Instagram kind of has everything in it that that debug and I still answered all my messages there. So if you have any questions about this, or real estate or short term rental buying or anything like that, that’s a good place to get me I answer everything over there.
D.J. Paris 52:57
And it’s really funny, right? Before we started, I had one of our newer agents, he had just passed his licensing exam and decided to join our firm. So this is just really kind of interesting timing, literally, right? Before we got on the air, he came in and he goes, Hey, I have a problem, I have a two flat, and I and this is in Chicago, and I don’t, I need to get approval from the city to be able to do short term rentals. And he said, I got denied, or this property got denied. And I had to go to the aldermen. And I had to, you know, try to, you know, get things he’s like, I really don’t know what to do now. And, and so, you know, we pass them over to our support team who can help them but but even eight, you know, this is something that agents, you know, really need to get familiar with, especially on the short term rental side, because, as you were saying earlier, millennials not only are interested in this, they’re using Airbnb, they’re using VRBO that these are, these are the services, I mean, we’re all using them really, at this point. But this is an opportunity to really, it’s, it’s one of those things where I’d say as an agent, if you can spend the next two years, spend 1520 minutes a day just looking at understanding invest in the investor world, and how investments work in two years, you’re going to be an expert, or at least you’re going to be a lot further along. And you’ll be able then to service those clients and this is why also you want to partner with a loan officer who actually is really familiar with with these types of investments in these types of loans. And that way, you know, either you can just pass it right over to your your trusted lender, or you can have that lender train you on what you need to know and this is such a great you know, we’re sort of coming into I know the markets picking up because it’s after Super Bowl now and everything’s kind of kind of gaining steam, and the rental season is upon us as well. And that’s huge. But I think you know, just carve out 1015 20 minutes a day to to master this or learn this and within a few years you’re going to be leaps and bounds above 99% of the other realtors out there.
Ralph DiBugnara 54:52
Agree? Yeah, and I 100% agree with you. I think it’s a I think it’s a great space. I think it’s the next thing for sure. So I it’s something that I’m heavy on right Now,
D.J. Paris 55:01
well, I want everyone to check out Rob’s podcast, which is called the disruptors network, we have a link to it in the show notes or just search for it. Or you can access it right on his website, Ralph de manera.com. Ralph, on behalf of all of our audience, we want to thank you for spending time with us and educating our audience on on things like investments and just you know how to reach sort of a younger demographic and some just best practice ideas from somebody who’s done it, and now runs a huge team that does it. You know, and, and also, on behalf of Ralph and myself, we want to thank our audience for continuing to listen and support our show. want to remind everyone before you sign off, or after you sign off, just help us do two quick things. One, tell a friend, think of one other realtor or real estate agent or loan officer that could really benefit from hearing this particular episode, Ralph, shoot them a link to our website, if they’re not a podcast person. And you can find us right at keeping it real pod.com. Again, keeping it real pod.com, every episode we’ve ever done is there. They can stream it right from their browser or pull up a podcast app having searched for keeping it real cert and hit the subscribe button. And then the last thing, so please tell a friend and then also review our show, we really, really use that data and that feedback to improve and continue to get better and give you guys more of what you want from this show. And we just crossed over a million downloads a couple days ago. We’re super grateful for that. And we want to hear what you want to see different we want what you like about the show. So whatever podcast app you might be using. If you’re using one, leave us a review. Let us know what you think of the show. We read every single comment and let us know how we can continue to keep getting better. Ralph, thank you so much for being on our show. I’d love to be on your show someday. So definitely reach out. And for everyone else on Ralph, we thank you and we’ll see everyone on the next episode.