FLTA Rodrigo Afanador | Burn Your Boats


Before you burn all your boats, it’s best to prove yourself first. If you want to go into real estate, try to do a couple of deals first before you quit your job. It’s good to educate yourself and find a community of people that can help you. Rodrigo Afanador left his good W2 job to get started in real estate. It was not without some hurdles, but in the end, he made it. Join Don Costa as he talks to Rodrigo about how he started in real estate. Discover how the Inner Circle Elite (ICE) Community helped him on his journey.

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When To Burn Your Boats And Jump Into New Opportunities With Rodrigo Afanador

I’m always excited to be doing these and looking forward to my host. Before I jump into that, I want to talk about a lot of cool things going on. We have the Inner Circle Elite. We have some mentoring and coaching. We are doing some amazing events. I encourage you to go to FlipTalk.com if you want to find out more about what we are doing. Check it out.

We also have some free giveaways, resources, and cool stuff there, from contracts to documents to videos. FlipTalk.com, you can check out the link at the top of the page for coaching and the mastermind community and join our free resources. With that said, I have my guest Rodrigo, buddy. How are you doing?

I’m doing well. Thanks, Don. Thanks for having me on.

Glad to have you here, man. You are part of our ICE community, our Inner Circle Elite community, and we will talk about that near the end. That’s one of the reasons why we know each other, and we’ve got to spend a lot of time together, which is cool. For the audience who doesn’t know who you are, how did you get started in real estate investing?

I got started in real estate investing in 2012. Got my start in a lot of similar ways to folks. Rich Dad Poor Dad, opened my eyes to the possibility and the options that exist in real estate. I went to 1 of their 2 hours lunch seminars, drank the Kool-Aid, signed up for their weekend thing and their extended programs, paid all the money, walked out of there, and realized I didn’t even know what to do anymore.


FLTA Rodrigo Afanador | Burn Your Boats


One tip that I got from them that was helpful is to get connected to my local REIA. I did that and was able to find good mentors, and that got the door open for me. I was able to work with them, and they helped me get started, have good relationships with them and be able to lean on to. That was the takeaway. Not any major helpful things there. I’m in the Asheville area, and I’m focused now on flipping and used to do a lot more wholesaling but mostly flipping now and doing long-term holds.

You captured the rehabbing bug before we got into that. You started out wholesaling. Let’s talk about what did your first deal look like and why did you choose wholesaling?

I chose wholesaling because it was the thing that I was told I needed the least amount of money to get started with. Looking back might have done it differently but I got started with that and the deal was much given to me. One of the mentors that I was working with was flipping a lot at that point in time and he said, “I’m a motivated seller. I will buy it from you.” It was $75,000.

Real estate wholesaling takes the least amount of money to get started with. Click To Tweet

They already told me that they would take $70,000, “Get it for $70,000, don’t screw it up, and I will buy it from you.” I went on the appointment, got it for $70,000, and knew what to do and gave him the contract. That was after 8 or 9 months of trying to make it happen, and he was part of those long months of struggle. There’s a bit of sympathy. It’s like, “Here, believe it’s possible.”

Wholesaling is the fastest way to a check. I don’t disagree with that as far as starting. You started there. Why did you transition from wholesaling to rehabbing? Wholesaling, for the most part, tongue-in-cheek it’s easy money. You don’t have to go through the brain damage of rehabbing a property working with contractors raising private money. Why transition from wholesaling to rehabbing?

The reason was, right before COVID doing the end-of-year review and trying to answer the questions, “How do we do less but more?” Trying to figure out how to get better gross revenue and net revenue without trying to do a million deals. I felt at that time that rehabbing was the best way to do that, to try to be able to take down our deal flow volume down and still end up with a better revenue number. That was the reason, and coincidentally, it worked out great with COVID. That was good timing. I was lucky and had no complaints there.

You transitioned from wholesaling to rehabbing. What were some of the initial challenges you faced in that transition?

With rehabbing?

From being a wholesaler and not having to rehab a property to now rehabbing, what were some of the first hurdles?

One of the hurdles that caught me off guard was the cashflow management from switching without feeling like it was a 30-day business cycle with wholesaling to a much longer lifeline cycle for the same deal if you will. The check is bigger, so it makes up for it. It takes a little getting used to, at least it did to me, to go from getting a check every 30 days to every 4 to 6 months, if you will.

FLTA Rodrigo Afanador | Burn Your Boats

Burn Your Boats: The cash management in rehabbing is a lot longer than the 30-day business cycle in wholesaling. The check is bigger so it makes up for it.


As far as the rehabbing, it was dialing in projects and being aware of all the moving pieces that came with it. I’ve told this inside of the masterminds. There has been a couple of projects at the beginning that I forgot to order appliances for until we were supposed to go live that weekend, scrambling around and trying to make things happen. It’s nothing major but all of the things adding up together made it challenging over the first year, getting better at it.

It affects cashflow because you have a longer turn time. One of the reasons why I say get into wholesaling is because first, you get your cash faster, and then you have that transition. What were some of the contractor challenges you had?

I was fortunate of being in the market for some time, that I had built up relationships with the contractors. I haven’t had any terrible contractor stories since I started focusing on rehabbing. The biggest thing is trying to get things done on time. It feels like it’s a hurdle that I haven’t figured out correctly or definitively.

A lot of it is because I joined that mastermind so I could avoid those hurdles, and as I was in ICE, being able to know how to structure your draws, had a lot of conversations about that upfront, and getting somebody to help me with the project management helped keep everybody online. When all those decisions were made preemptively and not reactively, that’s how I had been doing it. Timelines are able to go a lot smoother and faster when people aren’t waiting on me to make decisions.

Private money-wise, what are some of the things you are doing to fund your projects?

All the private money that I’m working with is coming pretty much from relationships that I developed when I was involved in the RIEA. I served on the RIEAs board for four and a half years in different roles. That timeline and being in a leadership position there gave me a lot of exposure to being the person in front of the room. This led to a lot of help in building trust between private lenders. They are used to seeing me leading meetings and being in front of the room for 3 or 4 years.

As I’ve started to raise more private money, it has been a lot easier to do that when people feel like they know you in that sense of seeing you and talking to you a lot. Anything that you do is nurturing relationships that are important, connecting with them on a consistent basis, having meals with them and then the basic ones. Doing what I said I would do as part of the deal in a consistent manner goes a long way.

Raising private money is a lot easier when people feel like they know and trust you. Click To Tweet

Let’s steer toward some of the lessons you learn in working with contractors. What advice would you give somebody considering doing their first rehab? What are some of the key takeaways you’ve gotten from working with contractors?

The biggest thing that I’ve improved on is not rushing into a project. Taking the time to set up a good game plan before you start to work on the house will save you some headaches. In the beginning, I was rushing into projects and feeling an urgency to get started and to get going. That was creating a lot of issues because we would get into a project without a clear idea of what the end product was supposed to look like.

It created confusion which created additional costs and headaches. The first thing is to have a clear plan and scope of work and have that clearly outlined in writing so that you and the JC are on the same page about what that’s going to look like.  The second thing is being a stickler, being consistent when you process payments and making sure that you have a good relationship with them or feel things are going well, to not letting things slide.

FLTA Rodrigo Afanador | Burn Your Boats

Burn Your Boats: When working with a contractor, be consistent when you process payments so you can keep that good relationship with them.


If 80% of things have been done but not 100%, pay for the 80%, don’t pay for the 100%, and assume or hope it’s going to get done before. It creates some rocky conversations with the contractors with who I work. It also created a different level of seriousness if you are in our working relationship. They are used to it now. It makes it easier to have those hard conversations.

Taking what you’ve said and summing it up, let’s have a plan, stick to the plan, have boundaries, stick to the boundaries, and make sure that you protect yourself and your business first and foremost, overall.

Yes, that’s a good summary.

How about marketing? What are some of the things you are doing in 2022’s market to get deals? We’ve heard it’s competitive, overpriced, and crazy.

Most of the deals that we get come from three different arenas. It’s direct mail, online, whether it’s PT, CNS or CO type of activity. A lot of circles of influence, relationships, heavy. I’m not part of REIA anymore. One thing that transitioned as I moved out of the REIA we started with a friend of mine here in the market, our own Meetup group to try again, be in front of a room and pool relationships and try to be in the center of that.

That has been a good lead-generation piece as well. Direct mail, trying to be as consistent as possible with that. We get lists, mail them out, etc. The PT, CNS, and CO it’s the same thing. Nothing revolutionary. The challenge has been to trust in the process and be consistent, even on the down months or weeks when it feels like it’s not working.

What would you do if you were starting over? What would you do differently?

I left a good W-2 job or studied quickly because I told everybody, “I’m done at the end of the year. January 1st, I’m doing my own thing.” It was December, and I hadn’t closed any deals or anything like that yet. I was like, “This is not happening the way I saw it.” I would have been a bit more patient and proven a couple of deals under my belt before I announced to my bosses that I was walking out the door.

Get a couple of deals under your belt before you announce to your boss that you're walking out the door. Click To Tweet

I would’ve tried to take advantage as well of buying rental property when I had income and was bankable. I went out on my own and my goal was always to buy rentals. I realized quickly that as you are starting and don’t have consistent income, it was hard and impossible for me to get any loans to buy any of the properties that I was seeing from a bankable component.

I would’ve gone a little slower, maybe bought a couple of properties, got in my feet, wet in that way, and then pulled the trigger when I was in a better position. I hit the ground running. It was good, and I learned a lot but I wasn’t able to have the best focus as I would’ve liked to on real estate because sometimes, I was trying to keep my head above water for the first couple of years. That in itself was distracting, and it changed some of my decision-making.

Let’s tackle that because some people are burn-the-boats people. For instance for me, if I have something to fall back on, if I have a parachute, I’m not going to work anywhere near as hard as if I’m up against the wall or back into a corner. People need that security and that comfort to do the work. Are you saying you are not a burn-the-boat person or are you saying that you are but you wish you could have done it differently? What are you telling us?

Under that analogy, I should have made sure I had my shield and sword before I decided to burn the boats instead of running onto the beach like a crazy person with no plan or support system at all. I did that because I believed in that process. I might have been a couple of months early to burning the boats, and I don’t know how you make that determination as to what’s the right time to burn the boats versus having a plan B. It’s worked out but it was not the smoothest of roads, if you will.

I don’t think there’s a wrong or right answer. It’s up to the individual and takes a hard look at who you are as an entrepreneur. As I said, I perform best on a deadline, when I’m backed into a corner, and when I have a lot of money in the bank and a lot of time on my hands. I don’t necessarily do things as quickly as I would. I know I would when I’m in a more desperate situation.

For me, burning the boats is a motivation factor that drives me. For other people, it’s not. There are other people who kill their spirit in determination. Each individual’s got to answer that question. You burned the boats, and you are building a good thing, and maybe you didn’t take the wrong move. There’s always an opportunity for regrets and looking back and doing things differently. Who knows? Had you not done that, you might still be in that job and doing this as a hobby.

That’s valid. I didn’t get my first steel done until I had burned that boat. I had been trying before that. I was five months of trying to get a deal done while I had the job, and it never happened until 3 or 4 months after that I burned the boats that it finally came together. By using that metric was the right decision at the right time.

I wanted to flush it out. It’s hard to give advice. We are all built differently. Some of us are conservatives, and some are not. I would jump off the cliff, and some people are outgoing and extroverts and introverts. It’s hard to say this is the right way for everybody. I appreciate you going down that rabbit hole with me.

I will add one caveat. Part of the reason I say that is my desire, and my plan was to buy rentals. Having the loss of that income affected my banking ability. It did was a real negative effect. It wasn’t just working for myself. It was twofold. That’s the lens to see that through.

What advice would you give somebody starting out as a brand new person? What books should someone read when they are getting started in real estate or trying to grow their business?

I would read Rich Dad Poor Dad for obvious reasons. That got me started and was a good mindset shifter for me. The Dale Carnegie book, How to Win Friends & Influence People. I also read Profit First, both the generic version and the specific one for real estate investors. It’s those three. You can make a long list but if you have those three under your belt, it will open the next step or the next door is straightforward at that point.

FLTA Rodrigo Afanador | Burn Your Boats

How To Win Friends & Influence People

How To Win Friends & Influence People is one of the more powerful books out there. I talk about it a lot. I didn’t get along with some individuals in high school. A principal gave me that book. I don’t think it changed my high school course too much but it changed me fundamentally as a salesperson, as a business owner, and as an entrepreneur. It is a phenomenal book, for sure.

It has been the cornerstone of my ability to build relationships with people for sure.

We hit on a few times that you are part of the ICE community in our Circle Elite. I want to talk about the community and what having the right community around you does it help your success? What are the advantages? What does being part of a community do for you?

The easy answer to look at is when you asked me earlier is, “What have been some of the issues you’ve had with contractors?” I struggled to answer that and had to dig a bit to find an issue. A lot of the main issues that I’ve heard about people I was able to avoid. I came into the ICE community because I knew I was heading into uncharted territory. I was like, “I want help. I don’t want to fall on my face doing this.” A lot of those issues and conversations that have happened in that community have gone a long way and avoided a lot of pitfalls. For me, that has been one of the things that are important.

I will summarize that with being able to speed-track your ability to implement information. Two is the solitude component. It’s good to be able to complain and celebrate with people who have context for what those complaints and celebrations are. You had a great rehab deal. It’s hard to first have context with somebody who’s never done rehab and why it feels so good. The same thing on why sometimes things hurt so bad is that you want that context to be important in a community and the reminder that it’s one thing. Let’s keep going and building.

Tell everybody how to get ahold of you if they want to reach out and talk to you more about what you’re doing, throw a deal your way, talk to you about lending or say hello. How will they find you?

I’m in the actual market. Our website and the best way to get in touch with me is AshevilleCashBuyers.com. I’m also on Instagram from a personal standpoint. I’m not active there but I direct on @RodrigoAfanador on Instagram. That would be either one of those. I’m happy to chat about anything actual real estate related for sure.

If you are getting value from the show or any other show that we do, make sure that you are liking and subscribing. You can always follow me on Instagram, @TheRealDonCosta. Check out FlipTalk.com for a lot of what we have going on. If you are interested in being part of the Inner Circle Elite, go to BeInThisRoom.com. We are always looking for amazing members to become part of our community. Let us interview you, you can interview us, and we will see if it’s a fit. Rodrigo, buddy, I thank you for your time, and I appreciate you being with me.

I appreciate it. Thanks, Don. See you in Chicago.



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