I am passionate about making sense of making money for making a difference, so I love receiving testimonies from those who have attended my workshops, read my books, or listened to my teachings. Cedric van Duyn has been and faithful follower of mine, and I was excited when he wanted to share his testimony. It was so good, that I wanted to share with you all! What do you feel you have learned or gained? I’d love to hear your feedback as well!
Real Estate Testimony
Cedric van Duyn
In 2005, my wife and I purchased our first home in the Seattle, WA area. In 2008, after the bubble burst, we had
to relocate 1 hour away, due to work. At that time, we could not sell the house for a profit, so we
decided to rent it out at a monthly loss of $750, hoping that the market would rebound and that the
equity investment would come in handy down the road.
As our 3 boys came along, it became increasingly difficult to carry the negative cash flow, and so in the
summer of 2016, we decided to sell. Our renters asked to be kept in consideration, so we settled on an
off-market sale. Due to this, our realtor charged us only 2% commission, which enabled us to sell below
market value and still receive the same amount of equity. Our renters agreed to purchase “as is,”
enabling us to avoid the hassle of what would have been a laundry list of repairs on a 1922 construction.
It was a WIN-WIN- WIN for everyone involved!
Our 8 years of negative cash flow @ $750 p/m yielded an equity value of slightly over $144,000. Under a
1031 exchange, we had 45 days to identify a new investment property. I had already heard Billy teach
the 1% rule several times, and so the search was on! However, our area simply did not fit the numbers!
A desperate text message arrived on Billy’s phone while he was in Uganda, to which he replied, “Look at
multi-family.” I started punching numbers on duplexes, triplexes, etc. until I landed on a 6-plex which
was the closest fit.
Our deal landed on exactly 1%. We purchased for $430K and the recorded rental income was $4,300 at
the time! With our $144K equity down, our PITI payment was $2,229, yielding a cash flow of $2,071. I
felt that this was a healthy situation for me to start the learning process on apartment complex
Desperate in my pursuit for the acquisition of Knowledge, Understanding, and Wisdom, I attended Billy’s
next Real Estate Workshop, which happened to be within weeks after I closed. This investment has paid
huge dividends for my property management skills!
A hidden blessing I soon discovered was that all the apartments had been rented out way below market
prices. At my first tenant turnover, I gingerly raised the rent by $25 p/m. The moment I posted it to
Craigslist, I was overwhelmed with crushing interest. I realized that I could easily have raised the rent by
$100 p/m. From this discovery, I did some market research and systematically started bringing the rent
closer to the averages in our area.
Since purchase almost 7 months ago, I have raised the total rent by $665, which averages at $110 per
unit. I currently have a pending agreement for another $125 rent increase on one of the units, and
another unit that will most likely see about $75 around the same time. This will be a total increase of
$865 p/m cash flow over a period of 9 months, which averages at $144 per unit! At this point, the cash
flow will be $3,000 p/m, which is an average of $500 per unit (excluding vacancies and repairs).
To minimize tenant turnover costs, I decided to institute a $200 non-refundable portion of the security
deposit to cover cleaning and other turnover fees. I was encouraged to find new tenants fully agreeable
to this reasoning, and somewhat relieved that they would not need to do a deep clean upon departure.
In my limited experience, cleaning costs have never been over $100, and several new tenants have
preferred to clean themselves, saving me the full non-refundable turnover fee!
Thank you, Billy, for equipping me to step into a whole new realm of financial blessing!
And thank you, Cedric, for sharing your testimony. Remember, you have the power to change your life. How has real estate investing been a game changer for you?
It’s been awesome to get to know Rob Statham through Wealthbuilders events. Rob has a huge heart, and a genuine love for serving others. It’s an honor to have him share this story with you! Thanks, Rob, for your friendship and for sharing this blog post today!
It’s June 2015 and there I was in Woodland Park Colorado attending the Charis Business Summit. The speakers were Paul Milligan, Dr. Dean Radtke, and Billy Epperhart. Paul’s reputation was building 100 million dollar businesses from the ground up, Billy was a real estate guru, and Dean was all about leadership. I had started our company in 2006 and we made a good living, but nothing you’d read about in Business News. I had a couple rental properties but no real attraction to real estate; they were just to hold on to as an inheritance for our kids. I had heard Dr. Dean Radtke speak one time and remembered the wealth of wisdom he shared on leadership.
I was there to hear Dr. Radtke. I heard from God.
I remember this story like it was yesterday. We had to pick our breakout sessions. Naturally my first pick was Dr. Radtke. My second I decided would be Billy Epperhart’s session since we had a couple rentals. I sit down right near the front and Billy starts his session. The first thing I remember him saying was…
It’s either God or Money, make up your mind.
I sat up! God just got my attention.
My whole life, or I should say my entire born again life of over 25 years, I have never been motivated by greed. My motivation for money was to take care of family and be able to take them to Disneyland. You know, just be comfortable and happy. I wanted to take care of my kids but I was not going to spend my whole life trying to build bigger barns, if you know what I mean. I worked in the Oil and Gas industry and was constantly exposed to bad decisions (my opinion) people made for money. I hated how people would do anything when a dollar was involved. So I sat straight up at the start of Billy’s breakout on Real Estate. Truth reverberated in my soul. I knew the verse before he had it up on his presentation.
Matthew 6:24. Jesus said, “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”
I was all ears. My mind is spinning. Who is this guy? I thought this was some multi-millionaire Real Estate investor like the “Rich Dad” guy. You know, full of insight and wisdom for Real Estate but certainly not melded to the gospel. I keep thinking “Who is this guy? Listen to him Rob! Listen to him!”
I listened to Billy and I heard from God.
Billy starts talking about making sense of making money to make a difference – the Wealthbuilder’s motto. He walks through scripture after scripture revealing the Lord’s plan for wealth. Deuteronomy 8:18, “And you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day.
I began connecting the dots between my job, my life, and my God calling me to bring His Kingdom to earth. To do business for His glory and not man’s greed. I sat there in awe and I sat there fighting tears. What in the world had I been doing? God gave me a business and real estate and all I could think about was myself and my family. There’s nothing wrong that, but there is something wrong with stopping there. God was calling me to build wealth to establish His covenant, His Kingdom here on earth. I heard Him.
Then Billy starts getting into the details, his numbers for Real Estate. The rent should be 1% of the gross price, the price should be 2-4 times median income of the market, and on and on. I sit there and run the numbers with the houses we are renting. They match Billy’s numbers! I am in awe. How can we stumble into not one, but two rental investments that are good deals? I see God had given us deals when we didn’t even know what a deal was. He gives us “Billy” deals in the midst of being completely ignorant and passive.
God is so good!!
Excitement is growing in me. I can’t wait to share this with my wife. I want every class, paper, book, opinion Billy’s has to offer. I am excited and I want more. I get a glimpse of what I don’t know. Ouch. I need help. I pray “God, I need help. Help me.”
Moments later Billy mentions that he is going to host a Real Estate Roundtable in October. I immediately go into distress, “Oh NO!!!” I am afraid I missed it. It is only 15 people and I am at a Business Summit of 600, and to make it much worse I am hearing this on the second day of the summit! I don’t know if I should interrupt the session, jump up and run upstairs or just scream. Someone in back asks, “How much is it?” Billy says, “$995.” I immediately think I am going to have to talk to Lesa. She’d freak if I go back to our little cabin and tell her I just spent a thousand bucks to attend a real estate roundtable.
Instantly I hear the Holy Spirit say the price is just a gatekeeper. It will keep the people interested away, but will not stop those He’s calling. Now I’m excited, second day or not. The price may have left a few seats open for today. I am back at the “should I run upstairs” thought. It’s close to ending so I decide to wait. I casually put away my belongings. I decide which door would be the best to use to beat all the other people running upstairs. I wait on the edge of my seat with my computer bag in hand. Billy dismisses us.
I jump out of my chair and run to the door. Some guy beats me to it. I’m hot on his heels. I know he’s thinking the same thing I’m thinking. He bolts down the corridor and turns to the stairs. I was positive then as I followed. Right as I approach my turn for the stairs I run into Andrew Wommack – right there in front of me. ANDREW WOMMACK! I would LOVE to run into Andrew and tell him THANK YOU! His ministry has been such a blessing to us.
So there I am face-to-face with Andrew Wommack. He slows down and smiles, readying himself to meet me. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to tell him what I just shared with you, so I gave him the 6th-grade head nod as I whizzed by him and ran upstairs still hot on the trail of that guy in front of me. We both get to the table, out of breath – it’s like 28,000 feet there :), and sign up for the roundtable!
My wife and I attend the roundtable after cramming a lifetime of reading, studying, and researching into four months. That guy racing in front of me turned out to be a new friend. We both laugh about how we were shot out of a cannon to sign up.
That roundtable & ministry of Billy and Becky Epperhart is one the best things that has ever happened to us.
That was the best money I have ever invested. The return is never ending – it’s priceless.
Today, my family is all about making sense of making money to make a difference. We now have six houses and eyes wide open looking for more. We are blessed, excited, and proud to partner with Wealthbuilders. We are building our real estate portfolio with a heart to redeem the land and help set people free from a spirit of poverty.
I know I am way over length for a blog. Billy’s staff asked if I would be interested in doing this and left it wide open as to a topic – wealth-building, real estate, or leadership. I think I have covered all three, because when you share an encounter with Billy Epperhart that is what you’ll get – along with a huge portion of God’s grace! Hopefully I will get an opportunity to share some of the details and ups and downs of “getting in the game” as Billy would say.
Thank you Billy!
Interested in attending a Wealthbuilders event? Our annual Wealthbuilders Conference is coming up February 3rd-5th in Denver, CO! We would love to see you (and your spouse!) there.
Right now we’re having a Holiday Special on tickets, so right now you can get a single ticket for only $149 or couples tickets for $239! This is a GREAT get-a-away for you and your spouse to spend time intentionally planning your 2017.
We hope to see you there. Find out more & sign up HERE.
I haven’t gotten to share in a very close-up way what I spend a lot of time working on throughout the year. But many of you know that I am constantly traveling to and from various countries in Africa. Over the past year, I’ve been truly blessed to get to know and invest in the vision of Pastor Herberts. Together, my non-profit Tricord Global and his church-started bank, Glory Bank, are working to transform the nation of Uganda through social impact investing.
The following is a transcription of the interview. One of the things that really sticks out to me here is how different the economic climate of Uganda is compared to the U.S. Here, it’s way too easy to get loans and drown in debt. But over there, it’s actually incredibly difficult to get loans—even though the difficulty means the attitudes are willing to pay back those loans.
The reality is that the church needs to go a step beyond donating to causes. We need to invest in causes! Instead of sending a dollar over there that will disappear, let’s put a dollar in the hands of someone who can reinvest that dollar over and over again. Let’s be sustainable in our social impact.
Pastor Herberts: The Christian churches are trying to empower their own people but they can’t do it because they don’t have resources available in large amounts. And yet they can get that money in a period of time, paying it back little by little.
Billy: So they can afford to borrow it and then pay it back.
Pastor Herberts: Paying back is not a problem. Getting a lump sum of money is a problem. And the moment you don’t have that lump sum of money, you can do nothing. Someone else will come in and take it away. The Muslims know that very well and that is why we wanted to come up with Glory Bank (for the Christians). And we thank Tricord coming in partnership with GloTrans to help us.
Billy: I know people in America don’t sometimes understand the challenges as clearly as they should. Sometimes we’re so accustomed to giving money and donating money—which is very important!—but we don’t sometimes understand the need of actually using our dollars to invest and be able to help churches. And you’re saying right now that being able to borrow the money is one of the key tools.
Pastor Herberts: This is what we’ve been talking about with some investors. Donations is good. And the missionary way of running church with the old mentality is great. But I don’t think it is at this moment able to meet the needs of the church. So a donation is great. But you can’t really plant on a donation. Because you never know when you need a lump sum money. Because you depend on the donation, and someone may say “I will give you this, and maybe I will give you this in October or September.” So you have no actual money with you and yet you may need to do something there and then. And you may need to get money right away
Billy: Yeah, you need it now.
Pastor Herberts: They need it now. Also I think, to help the church in Africa, Billy, this is my mindset. The time has come that the church in Africa can feel that they have done some things by their own hand. It’s time to feel that they have done something on their own.
Billy: So they have ownership.
Pastor Herberts: They have ownership. You don’t need to come from the U.S. all the time and say “I’m going to build you this, I’m going to build that.” I mean that’s great! I will love it. But if you can put something that can be substantial [and sustainable] that I know you’ve put a lump sum money there so I can always go and use it and bring it back, use it and pay it back. In the end it’s a win-win. You have helped me do what I’m supposed to do. At the same time, I feel that I have worked also myself and I will praise God.
Billy: Praise God. Well this has been good.
To learn more about what we do through Tricord Global and Wealthbuilders, visit our websites (Note: we have an updated video for Tricord in the works!). Join me every Friday for tips on investing in yourself and others!