Generations Of Wealth

Generations Of Wealth | Chris Larsen | Real Estate Deals


Calling all real estate rookies! Go beyond bricks and unleash the mindset for multi-billion-dollar real estate ventures in this episode. Chris Larsen joins Derek Dombeck to dive into his journey from medical device sales to commercial real estate investing. Find out about Chris’ early passion for cycling and the pivotal moment that shifted his focus towards financial independence. With nearly 4,000 units closed in multifamily and various other investments, Chris offers valuable insights into the nuances of syndicating commercial real estate deals, emphasizing the importance of careful underwriting, leverage, and operational expertise. Tune in to explore different asset classes like apartments, self-storage, and car washes, and gain a deeper understanding of how to successfully navigate the world of commercial real estate investing.

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Unlocking Billion-Dollar Deals: Thinking Like A Real Estate Titan With Chris Larsen

Welcome to the show. I’m Derek Dombeck here host. As you know, this is the show where we talk about living our vision and loving our lives. In this episode, I have the pleasure of bringing on Chris Larsen. I’ve not been able to meet you in person, Chris. We had a great conversation before we started recording here. I know that you’re passionate about commercial real estate. You have a background in the medical device industry, but it sounds like you got away from that for real estate. If you wouldn’t mind give everybody a little intro. What do you do? Who you are? Where you’re from? Let’s get going.

From Medical Device To Real Estate

Derek, thanks for that. I have family roots in Wisconsin, the Midwest. There’s something about Midwest culture. My father’s from the Green Bay Area, not too far away from you. I grew up in Maryland. I get asked that question a lot, which is, “When did you decide to leave med device for real estate?” I’ll be happy to share how to get a free copy of our book with the audience. You can dive into my story, but I was 21 years old. I was in college. I bought my first piece of real estate and as a 21, 22, or 23-year-old, you realize pretty quickly after you buy a few properties that you need capital.

Around that time, I read Rich Dad Poor Dad and he said, “You should be accredited.” If you want to have access to the best investments out there, become an accredited investor who is making $200,000 or more as an individual a year and or $1 million net worth. I said, “What type of career is going to allow me to do that?” Sales are always up there in terms of hiring in careers. Fortunately, I was introduced to somebody who was in the medical device sales industry. He sold joints. I have a biomechanical engineering degree, which is probably hard to read up on the wall back here, but I did graduate with an engineering degree, which may be a surprise to some people who know me in person, and my PE as well.

I always joke. I said my advisor pulled me aside and said, “Chris, you’re not smart enough and you’re too funny and have too much personality to be an engineer. We’re going to have to figure out something else for you.” I was very fortunate I got to meet this person. What’s interesting is we designed the same type of implants that he was selling in the OR. I learned about the business. I was like, “This is cool.” Lots of earnings. Earning is capability in that but I did that in some capacity for eighteen years, but we started syndicating properties in 2016, commercial properties, specifically multi-family.

We’ve expanded into other areas now. As a quick aside, but is the genesis of this, my best friend passed away between my freshman and sophomore years of college. I didn’t want to be an engineer and I didn’t want to be a real estate investor for the time. I wanted to be a professional cyclist. After racing and riding my bike for another year, I said, “I don’t want to have regrets. I don’t want to let life bring opportunities by and have to pass them by.”

The realization I had as a sophomore junior in college was that you need money in this world to have access to all these opportunities. I made a pledge to myself that I’m going to live life to the fullest. I’m going to honor the life that I have, but also the life that my friend, whose name was also Chris, didn’t have anymore. I set off on this journey towards financial independence. Now, Next Level Income is built to help others do the same.

There’s so much that I want to dive into on that. The first one is honoring your friend, Chris, which hits home for me. Last year, I was 48 years old. I buried three classmates in 2023, all at 48 years old. That’s what the vision is all about, living your life to the fullest at all times. When you have those friends and family members that you lose way too early, in my opinion, you shouldn’t have to have those life-altering moments to alter your life.

We should already be doing it proactively but most of us don’t. At that age, that was pretty impressive that you were able to make that shift and make that realization. I also have a degree a PhD but mine is a public high school diploma. I don’t put that on my wall. My listeners have heard that stupid joke many times. I’m sure.

You made me laugh. There’s proof of my sense of humor. I guess.

I do enjoy it when I get in a debate with attorneys, and I throw that at them and then I tell them what my PhD is. They don’t laugh at all, especially when I’m schooling them on the topic that we’re talking about.

That’s bitterness though. That’s not fair to you.

I love the syndication space. I co-owned a hard money lending company for ten years. That was all syndicated money. My business partner bought me out of that not too long ago. Let’s dive in a little bit on your journey into commercial real estate leading up to what you do now. Start at the earlier years and work us through that.

I could probably go way longer than our time here. I dive into everything, Derek. I started off and I had a simple formula. First off before real estate, I was day trading in the stock market and that’s not investing. Lots to stress. Lots of sleepless nights. It’s like this is not investing. I have to find a better way. During the end of my undergrad, as well as my MBA, I read 250 books, anything I could get my hands on, money, business, the stock market, and real estate.

I was like, “I can control how much I pay for a piece of real estate. I can negotiate. I could even maybe improve it. I can get leverage.”All those things were very appealing to me and I said, “If I can buy enough properties, I can have $10,000 a month coming in after expenses and assuming they’re debt-free, that let me pay off the loans.” That’s a pretty simple formula. Buy enough properties, $10,000 net of income coming in after the properties are paid off. I was like, “I could do that and pay off these properties in 10 or 15 years.”

That was a very simple formula that maybe it would happen in 7 years, maybe 10 years, maybe 15 years, but I thought to myself, I can do that by the time I’m 25, I’m financially free by the time I’m 40. Fast forward. My wife and I had moved from the DC area down to where we live now in Ashland, North Carolina. We had my first son. My second son was born a week after my mother passed away in December of 2011. She had cancer and it was one of those moments in my life when I stopped and I stepped back

I was like, “Let’s take an assessment of everything going on.” I had started racing my bike again. I quit a second time at that point. My boys were getting older. I also looked at our Investment portfolio. Now, the property has grown in value. The equity has grown in those properties as well. My return on the amount of equity that I had in those properties, not what I paid or put in from capital but the amount of equity I have if I sold everything, that day, was 7%. This is somebody with an MBA in finance. I was like, “That’s not a great return.”

I had to pay taxes and I was making a lot of money. I was getting a 4% after-tax return on equity. I said, “There’s got to be a better way.” I was talking to an associate at a meeting with my wife. We were like a business meeting helping her grow her architecture practice. They said, “You should look into apartment syndications.” I talked to his referral. All the things that got me into the medical device space applied here as well. The demographics. All the long-term trends in the space. I said, “This makes a lot of sense.”

I started selling off our single-family rentals. Started rolling those into larger syndications as a limited partner is an LP investor, as we call it. I was getting better returns with less risk and less work. I was like, “This is fantastic.” What happened was the friend I introduced to that group said, “I’m going to start doing this. I’m going to buy an apartment. I want you to be my partner.” That was in 2015.

We closed our first 100 units, $9 million deal in 2016. Now, I think we’re close to 4,000 units closed. In the apartment space, we have over a dozen storage facilities, 20 mobile home parks, 31 express tunnel car washes, and several other things along the way as well. We do all those to help other investors have access to those same opportunities that allowed us to become financially independent.

Syndication And Leverage

One of the things that I like about syndication and one of the things I don’t like about is the positioning of the syndication. Are you all using bank financing in the first position on these transactions and then you’re syndicating the raise for the down payment or are you syndicating the entire amount for the deal?

It depends on what type of deal and what type of leverage that we use. Typically on a Class A apartment, we’re usually getting somewhere between 50% and 70% leveraged. Today, you’re looking at more like 50% to 55%, then the equity that we’re raising is going to be from investors. For raising, that remaining 30% to 40%-plus, that’s coming from investors.

What’s your opinion on the market as we’re moving forward? I’m not going to say your syndications because there’s a right way to syndicate, there’s a wrong way to syndicate. We all know that. You know that. I know that. If somebody syndicated based on very low cap rates and now they have a short-term bridge loan that’s coming due in the next 12 months to 24 months, is there not a high risk that the syndicated money gets wiped out?

I think what you’re referring to is the leverage. I don’t think it’s the syndication or the structure per se, but it’s the leverage. I got a call from somebody and they’re like, “My friends in this syndication have a first-position loan at 70%.” They have mezzanine debt on top of that 20% and there’s only 10% equity in that deal. If that property goes down 15%, so there are properties in this country that are down to 20% in value. If you have a property that’s worth $50 million and it goes down 10% or $5 million and you only had 10% equity in that deal, that could wipe out 100% of investor equity in that circumstance.

If you’re leveraged is say 60% as we are in our properties, even if that property went down 10% in value, that’s still would be a loss if we sold it today. I think there are certain rules that you have to apply. One, have an appropriate amount of Leverage. Again, 50% and 60% in today’s market are reasonable when it comes to that. Have debt that is aligned with the hold period in the strategy that you have. Have adequate cash reserves. If you have cash in the bank, you have a low-leverage deal, you have financing that lines up with your hold period, and you shouldn’t be in a for-sale position with respect to that.

Have an appropriate amount of Leverage—50 to 60 percent in today's market is reasonable. Click To Tweet

I don’t think it matters if it’s a syndication or if you’re a property owner. We saw property owners in single-family homes, and all kinds of different real estate get wiped out in the Great Recession. That wasn’t because they were sending it necessarily, it was because they didn’t keep those rules in mind when they did those things.

I’m glad that you explained that the way you did, laying out the rules because there are so many people that are syndicating out there that don’t have the experience. They’re first-time syndicators. They are able to raise money. If somebody is good at sales, they can talk people into putting money into deals and it’s the track record. You have the track record and you have the experience which makes all the difference, and everybody has to start somewhere.

From Contract To Closing

I’m a firm believer in hitching the wagon of people who have already done it. Learn from them, watch them, follow them, and then repeat. In the lending business, I raised millions and millions of dollars for years. We didn’t have any institutional funding behind us. Our entire money lending company was all private capital all the time. It was easier for us when there was a question with an investor or something to have those one-on-one conversations. There was no institution in place. Even for myself now moving forward with my own real estate transactions, I want to get into more commercial space, RV resorts, self-storage, and things of that nature.

I’m in a different position now raising money than I was in the last ten years because I’m raising for a single project, not for a fund that’s going to be lent out in a matter of days. I’d love for you to touch on that. In the aspect of raising and syndicating, you get a property under contract, a commercial deal, and now you’ve got a ticking clock. What’s the average time frame that you put in place from contract to closing? Talk about how the raise goes and stuff because a lot of people don’t have a clue what that’s like.

If you’re buying a big deal and you’re bringing investors and even if you’re not, there are three components to these larger deals. One, there’s the identification and acquisition of the project. There are three buckets where you need expertise and you can provide value, depending on what you’re doing. Number one is having access to good deals and being able to evaluate those deals. You have underwriting capability and you also need relationships with brokers.

A lot of times, most of your listeners probably understand that the best deals happen off the market, or they’re happening through relationships. If you’re selling a $50 million apartment building, you probably want to sell it to somebody that either you have a relationship with or has a track record. These projects can take months to market. They can take months to go under contract and sometimes take months to close. Typically, from the date of the contract, putting the purchase and sale agreement in place to close, we’re looking at 60 days to 90 days for us.

The best deals happen off-market or they're happening through relationships. Click To Tweet

It’s not uncommon for that process to go out longer than that, potentially 3 to 6 months. We did a deal in Houston last year that was rather complex. It was a tax abatement deal. We had to work through a process with the city. We were reducing rents in some of the apartments in the three properties that were buying. We closed in October and started working on that deal early in January of 2023. That deal was nine months when it was all said and done. You have to identify, have access to those deals, be able to underwrite and identify those deals, and then comes raising capital, or you may have the ability to work with an institution that is going to write you a single check.

You have to have access to capital that could come. In our group, we have thousands of investors that we work with and they help us bring the capital to that. We have the majority of the capital invested in these deals if you look at the percentage-wise, general partners. That’s another great question. If you’re investing with a general partner, you want to say, “How much of your own capital is going to be in this deal?”

You want skin in the game from a performance perspective, but you also want skin in the game because I know if a deal goes south, I’m losing my own money to someone, plus I’m going to lose any equity that I have from the general partner side. That’s bad. Plus I’m going to have a problem with my business. That’s the skin in the game you want a general partner that you’re working with. I identify, and underwrite the deals, have access to the capital to close on those deals, and then you need operations to take over that deal.

We may underwrite 100 deals before we identify a good deal. It could take months, sometimes as long as a year. We didn’t close on a single project outside of that one in Houston last year. We have 400 of the other projects that got underwritten, and nothing got put under contract. Underwrite, put it under contract. Typically, we’re not going to raise the capital until we put that project under contract. There are some groups they’ll able to fund. They raise funds continuously.

What we do is we have investor interest, but we’ll send out and say, “Great news. We have this property in Houston under contract. If you’re interested in it, let us know, and then we can send you the information on the deal to review. Typically, we give investors about a month to review and wire funds and wire their capital. We give investors about four weeks to do that. We typically give ourselves another four weeks to wrap up that funding period and close on a project and do that. That’s when the real fun starts. You get to operate the deal. A great deal with poor operations is not going to be a great deal. It’s probably not even going to be a good deal.

You need a well-oiled operating machine. As I mentioned, some of our different asset classes, we have different operating groups for each of those asset classes. You probably don’t want the same people running a Class A luxury apartment complex as you do running a car wash or running a mobile home park. A storage unit is going to be a little simpler. You may do that, but you want expertise in each of those operating areas.

Asset Classes

What is your favorite asset class right now? Car washes are a buzzword. Self-storage has been a buzz for a while. What gets your heart all pitter-pattering?

It’s like saying, “I got two boys, 12 years old and 14 years old, which one do you love more?” It’s like, “It depends on the day.”

Which one is generally behaving better that day?

I’ve talked about it on my podcast a lot about the 18.6-year real estate cycle. That’s probably a whole other episode on its own. We are in the latter half of the real estate cycle. Typically, what happens is you see prices are high, and you see interest rates that are high during these periods. What’s going to perform well during this part of the real estate cycle? What’s going to perform well when there’s a law where there’s a recession in the future? I think you want to have a yes and an affirmative answer to both of those questions. express

Number one, you want properties with good margins, and margins are going to double if you were double dipping into the forced appreciation of property on the operation side. You mentioned car washes. We have 31 washes. We have revenue coming in from the operation side. We also have the value of the business or the real estate on that. Mobile home parks fall into that category as well and you’ll probably notice a pattern here.

These asset classes are a little bit more challenging to operate. Another one that we don’t have any syndications or any holdings in this area, but is something I’m spending a lot of time investing in right now is senior housing. You have assisted living senior housing. Those three asset classes, I think are going to outperform here over the next ten years in my opinion.

What has driven the car wash boom? It’s not something I studied at all. Car washes have been around ever since there were cars for the most part. What’s driving that boom?

There are a few components. One there’s technology. You have technology that’s available that allows rapid throughput so you can watch a lot of cars. We have a car wash here locally in Asheville. I call it the robo-wash. It’s an in-bay automatic. You pull in and the robot goes around and washes your car. We also have a hurricane express wash, which is part of the brand we work with our investors on. That is a conveyor belt model. It’s called an express tunnel so it’s the kind you pull in, and the belt pulls you through.

These express tunnel washes are popping up for a few different reasons. One, people like to wash their cars. We love our cars in America. Elite fleets like Uber and all of these things contribute to that because if you hop in a car you want it to be clean. If you have a fleet, you want to keep your fleet clean. If you have a car and it’s new, you want to keep that. If you say, “I want to have an older car, but I want to keep it in good running condition,” you can go and you can wash your car.

The other thing is, I guess if you were wanting a little bit, a couple of years ago when we bought our first wash in the space, we were looking at a 15-year build that period. We’re going to reach industry saturation in 15 years. We believe that we had a five-year runway to accumulate these washes, operate these washes, and then exit them before we run into the last half of that 15-year cycle. Private equity loves monthly recurring revenue.

These express tunnel washes are a great model because when you have memberships. Those memberships drive this monthly recurring revenue that’s coming in. You have a lot of capital that’s flowing into the space. Also, much like the mobile home parks that we’re buying, 80% and 85% of mobile home parks and car washes are owned by what we would call mom-and-pop operators. These are operators that have four or fewer locations. It’s a highly fractured industry. These tunnels cost $3 million to $5 million, sometimes even more to construct.

If you’re a small operator, you’ll run out of funds pretty quickly, but once you are up and running, like we’ve lowered cost by 30% in terms of the chemical costs when we take these washes over with our contracts. We are oftentimes doubling the number of sales when we take over because of the sales model that we have in place. There’s not a lot of sophisticated technology because of the fractured nature of the industry. We have a proprietary CRM and app that we bring in and do that. We want to be like the Chick-fil-A of the car wash space. Do you guys have Chick-fil-A’s up there in Wisconsin now?

We have a few. They’re making up here.

There’s a great restaurant around the corner here. They make an awesome chicken sandwich. It’s got pimento cheese, and it has this hot mop sauce on it. It’s $15. I know that’s my favorite chicken sandwich in Asheville, but if I’m going out for lunch with my boys, we’re going to Chick-fil-A. For $5, I can get a great chicken sandwich. I’m in and out in five minutes. It’s very predictable. There’s good value, everybody’s polite, they’re well-dressed, and it’s clean. We want to be like Chick-fil-A. What we call this is an affordable luxury.

If you can wash your car for an average of $1 a day for a membership, that’s an affordable luxury that people can feel good about. If you look at the industry questionnaires, if you look at quality and the top five, quality is number four. People want value, they want convenience. They want that predictability and they want to feel good when they drive out of that car wash about their car. It’s fun, the kids like to see the lights, and then you run to Chick-fil-A afterward, and you get that one too.

You need to get some Chick-fil-A’s, own those right next to your car washes, and double dip.

I like that we can put up the car wash on the other side of the Chick-fil-A. You can run and get your Chick-fil-A and hop back in your car on the other side when it comes out of the wash. How about that?

I would like to get some credit for the idea but it’s fine, you run with it.

You got it. We’ll call it Double D’s Car Wash and Chicken Sandwiches.

Mindset Shift

We could go a long way with double D’s. Let’s go back a second to how you get the mind shift, going from single families to apartments. You’ve been in this business for 20-plus years. I’ve been in this business for 20-plus years. We evolved over time but a lot of our listeners don’t necessarily know that. A lot of our listeners have never seen a downturn. They’ve never seen interest rates where they are today. What was the evolution like for you? When I got my ass kicked in 2007, I lost everything. I had to rebuild. There’s a lot a lot to that story, but I never quit and my mindset kept evolving with it. What was it like for you? Did you have any epiphanies or hard moments or what got you to that level?

First off, there have been great deals. There have been bad deals. I think anybody says, “No, I never had any hardships or any issues and stuff like that.” I have lost business partners. All those things, but if you’re listening, it’s like, what is some actionable information? I mentioned some rules, like maintaining reasonable leverage, maintaining enough cash in the bank, have long-term debt that is aligned with your hold period, so you’re not forced into a selling position.

I lost money during the great recession, but it was only on paper because I wasn’t forced to sell our properties. I was able to hold on to those properties because we didn’t buy anything too late in the cycle and we weren’t over-leveraged. All those things were good things. I watched our back. The value of our properties goes down. That sucks when you list a property and you watch its price go down 10% in a quarter. This is wild. That led me to study the cycles in real estate going back to the early stages in this country.

If you understand the way that money and credit cycles work, then you can look at real estate and say, “What performs better at certain times?” If you go to our podcast, click on the podcast link to the Next Level Income Show, episode 100. I talked about this. I made episode 100 so I could remember that because it’s hard to remember. You get up there. We’re over 200 now. It seems like a long time ago, but early on the cycle, it’s hard to get money, but it’s easy to make money because you’re buying land cheap.

If you understand the way that money and credit cycles work, then you can look at real estate and figure out what performs better at certain times. Click To Tweet

You’re buying properties, and property prices are going up. Land prices are going up. Income is going up on properties. It’s easy to make money. What happens is if you’re newer to the space, you are folded into thinking that real estate is linear. It always goes up 3%, 4%, or 5% year. Is it going up 20%? Crazy amounts during COVID. That’s not sustainable. The market has to come back. It has to come back in normalize.

When bubbles happen like that typically in the latter half of the cycle, if you say, “I can just refinance this property. I can count on 20% rent growth year over year,” rent growth has been largely negative in the multifamily space across the country. We’ve been fortunate that all rent growth has been positive if only marginal but it’s still been positive. You have to say, “I’m going to stick to my rules,” and then the other piece is like I mentioned, people read my book which you can get from our website for free. Click on the book link, but people read my book and they’re like, “You’re all about multifamily, Chris.” It talks about multifamily but it is about the value-added strategy in real estate.

I like value-ad because you’re buying properties that you can improve operations or put capital and to improve the overall income and the value of that property. If you stick to those three rules that I mentioned and you’re buying properties that are “value add,” they should have income from day one. You’re putting yourself in a good position. Maybe not a perfect position, but a position where you can sustain cashflows and you can improve the value of the property over time. Nassim Taleb wrote the book Antifragile and a few other fantastic books, but they can be a little deeper.

I would highly recommend Antifragile, but he says, “Don’t get blown out.” Make sure you have enough cash in the bank. Make sure you have enough cashflow, and make sure you’re not forced into selling and losing because that’s the opposite side of leverage. If you’re over-leveraged and you’re forced to sell, then that leverage works against you and does that. That’s hard because when you’re being conservative, you’re all so leaving money on the table in a lot of cases.

In my own personal investing after losing everything in 2007, I know I’ve walked away from deals that could have been good money-making deals, but there was the peace of mind of not taking the risk and it’s fine. Everybody evolves at a certain point in history, I’m assuming you probably never thought you would have a podcast with 200 shows. I never plan on having a podcast either. We evolve and I host the conference on a cruise ship once a year. Never plan on doing that in my life. All these things happen and they tend to happen when you have things written down and a map of your life or a vision.

Chris’ Day-To-Day

I’m curious as we start to wind down here. What does your day-to-day life look like? Are you having to work 7 days a week, 12 hours a day to keep this all rolling? We’re passionate about living your personal life, vision first, and building a business that supports that. Realistically, what can somebody of your huge experience do and how many hours a day does that take?

It takes as many as you want and this is the thing. Quantity is not always quality. The first thing we do with our coaching clients is we have them right out there three-year vision. Your three-year vision is a filter. If you don’t have one, I encourage you to do it and we talked to our coaching clients about number one, what are your health goals? What do you want your health to look like? What is your vision for your health? I turn this into a story. What is your vision for your wealth, health, wealth, your family, and social networks?

If you don’t have a family yet, that’s okay. What about your social aspect? Your friends, your community. Your religious community if you participate in that or spiritual, and then self-development. Self-development could be for personal enrichment is what I call it. That could be anything from travel to buying a new car. It could also take on a spiritual component. You need to be conscious of all four of those things. If you’re pushing hard in the wealth area, the sacrifice your health, I can tell you that if the catch is up to you, you’re not going to be very happy.

Once you filter through that vision, I do my goals every quarter. I scheduled my quarterly review with my coach earlier today. It’s vision first, then quarterly goals, review those quarterly goals every week. I typically do it Sunday morning. I put out my action item. I structure my week around that. I’m going to give a quick little course for your listeners here today. If you’re listening, the first thing you want to put on your calendar is you’re not negotiable. When do you sleep? When do you work out? I coach my son’s cycling team so I’m doing that tomorrow. That’s on the calendar.

I have all this done and I have an assistant, but she knows if I’m at the gym or if I’m riding my bike or if I have cycling practice around that town, by the way, if it’s a birthday where my kids have off school, that’s blocked off on my calendar. You can fill in everything else after that. Sometimes you have to be realistic. I don’t work seven days a week, but I work five days a week and I get up to work.

I work first thing in the morning, typically from 5:30 to 7:00 in the morning before my kids are up. I get a lot done, a lot of reading done, a lot of deal analysis done in that time, but everything else filters in after that. What I’ve realized is I cannot do it all so I have to give up pieces of the pie, and those pieces of the pie go to members of my team. I have a director of investor relations. I have the executive assistant that I mentioned. I have my operating partners. They deserve to be compensated for their time and expertise in those areas, which means I can’t do it all but what I can do is now I can operate in multiple asset classes that provide value not only to our personal portfolio but also to our investors that we work with.

I can still do it without compromising time with my 12-year-old and 14-year-old boys because my father passed away when I was five. I didn’t have a relationship with my father because I was only 5 years old and he was 41 at the time. That’s very precious to me. My boys are going to be here. They’re in middle year, soon to be in high school, and my older son and I know there’s only a window of time to have that I can’t buy back that time as they get older. I want to make sure I’m making time for those experiences with them while I have it and that also includes my wife. Of course, you have to have a strong marriage in my opinion to have a strong business and a strong life.

I appreciate you being vulnerable and sharing that because most people would not approach a CEO of a large company that’s doing a lot of business and ask those types of questions, but that’s what we do here. That’s what you do on your show. We’re all here to help and educate our listeners and show them that anybody can do this. You started off in houses. I started off in houses. We all can evolve as long as we take the steps.

Can I add one quick thing, Derek?


You alluded to this when you mentioned the podcast. As part of that, when you do evolve and progress through life and you hit different levels, I think a part that I found valuable is that part which is giving back or mentoring and helping other people along the way. You don’t have to make all the mistakes that I made and that you made, but if you listen to what Derek is saying, you listen to the information that he’s providing on this podcast, then if you’re listening, you can take the shortcut to success.

You don't have to make all the mistakes. If you listen to the information provided on this podcast, then you can take the shortcut to success. Click To Tweet

That’s one of the things that I made the mistake of in the first half of my career. I didn’t build a network. I was a closeted investor. When the markets crashed, we had nobody to turn to. Now, I’m all about building a network and anything I can do with it. If I get involved in a car wash to be able to say, “Chris, would you give me five minutes? Give me a quick opinion on this?” That’s huge. That’s what I offer to all of the people that are part of my network.

We all have to be respectful of each other’s day and time because that’s the one thing that makes all humans equal. We all only have 24 hours in a day, but it’s awesome having a network. I know that you do have a coaching program and I don’t know if it’s something that you want to talk about at all. If it is, feel free and let my listeners know what you can do to help them.

Reach Out To Chris

Thanks for offering that. First off, If you haven’t yet, go to Get a free copy of our book. If you put your address in, we’ll even send you a copy. You can learn a little bit more in detail about my story. Our coaching program relaunched earlier this year and it’s eight-week live coaching. We meet twice a week. We do a live call and then we also have an Ask Me Anything session. We have I’d say 24 hour unlimited email support but the idea is that you walk away at the end of the eight weeks with your own personal roadmap for how to become financially independent. It’s called your six figures of passive income road map.

The idea is that we walk you through whether you are optimizing the time you’re spending to make money in your career or your business. Should you start a second business? Do you have an optimized tax strategy? Do you have an optimized legal structure? We gave you all the resources on that, and then we wrapped this up yesterday. Should you be an active investor or a passive investor? If you want to be passive, how do you evaluate deals?

We have our deal analyzer. It teaches you both qualitative, the questions to ask as well as quantitative, the numbers and to analyze the passive deals that are out there so you know, “Am I asking the right questions to these syndicators if you’re working with them? Is it a good deal? Do the numbers work for you?” To me, the biggest thing that was missing in the market is there’s all that information floating around there. People ask me, “Which deal should I invest in?” They don’t even know the questions to ask, let alone how to evaluate them. We try to solve it with that and we’re going to have a special link for your audience as well if they want to get $1000 off that course on our website.

That’s awesome. We will have a link. It’s It’s not that hard to remember. Look at the title of the show. You’ll see Chris Larsen’s name so you know how to spell it correctly. Go check out his coaching program. Chris, I appreciate you coming on and I do often ask all my guests what questions should I have asked you that I didn’t ask as we wrap up this show.

You asked us some good pointed questions and that’s the thing. Going back, not that you didn’t ask it but to highlight, all the financial stuff when you’re entering this journey is important. If you don’t focus on those things that matter that you’re working for in your life, it’s all for nothing, as I was mentioning.

If you take one thing away, tomorrow morning when you wake up, look at the next week, and put those non-negotiables in, everything else will fill itself in. It’s like money. If you wait till the end of the month and you see how much money you have left to save, there’s probably not going to be any. Don’t wait for those moments when you want the time with your loved ones and those experiences. Don’t wait for retirement. Make it happen now and then figure out the financial pathway to support that.

I love it, Chris. Thank you so much. I can’t tell you how great of a conversation this was. We could keep this going for hours, but neither you nor I are going to be able to do that. We’ll wrap it up. To our audience, thanks for joining the show. Stick around and check out to see what we have coming up for future events and future shows. Also, check out our Facebook page. Join our group, Generations Of Wealth on Facebook and other social media platforms. Thanks to Chris Larsen. You go out there, live your vision, and love your life. We’ll see you on the next show.


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About Chris Larsen

Generations Of Wealth | Chris Larsen | Real Estate DealsChristopher Larsen is the founder and Principal of Next-Level Income. Since “retiring” after 18 years in the medical device industry, he now dedicates himself to guiding others to financial independence through education and strategic investments.

With over 20 years of real estate expertise, Chris began his journey at 21, acquiring his first single-family rental while pursuing degrees in Biomechanical Engineering and Finance at Virginia Tech. Since then, he’s navigated diverse real estate ventures, from development and private lending to syndicating over $1.5 billion in commercial properties since 2016.

Based in Asheville, NC, Chris, his wife, two boys, and their spirited Viszla, Lucy, embrace the outdoors and the rich food and culture of the region. Chris embodies the Next-Level lifestyle, where financial freedom meets adventure on the path to success.

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