Best Real Estate Investing Advice Ever

John McGeown is a self-described old soul in real estate. He grew up in Chicago and joined the U.S. Navy after graduation, where he served from 1999 to 2003. At age 24, he decided to enter the world of real estate. 

Today, John is the president of High Fidelity Property Management, a third-party property management company that has 1,000 apartment units under management throughout Chicago’s North Side neighborhoods. In this episode, he shares his top five Best Ever tips for property managers, as well as his experience as a GP in the Chicago MSA.

1. Don’t Underestimate the Time It Will Take

John says that many people who self-manage underestimate the time it takes to properly manage a building, which is why they often come to him for help. “I think the mistake is people try to do too much too fast too soon,” he says. 

2. Make Sure You Have the Right Resources

Others who self-manage their properties tend to struggle because they haven’t yet established reliable connections. “Having a good cast of vendors is one of the hardest things for property owners who are managing themselves,” John says. 

3. Your Existing Portfolio Is the Gold

John admits that he is often in “go” mode and forgets this one thing: “Your existing portfolio is the gold, and new people are silver,” he says. He sees many third-party property managers flip those priorities around, making the mistake of devaluing their existing client base and overvaluing new business. 

4. Know What You Know — And What You Don’t

When asked why he hasn’t ventured into short-term rentals, John answers candidly: “I’m a Navy guy, and I’m very cautious,” he says. “I know what I know, and I know what I don’t know.” It took him a considerable amount of time to discover who he is, what he wants to offer, why he is different, and why people should work with him. Now that he has that figured out, he prefers not to deviate from his plan. 

“There’s always going to be a shiny object that somebody is shaking in front of you,” he says. “For me, it never really felt like something that I wanted to do. So I didn’t do it.” 

5. Three Things to Look for When Evaluating Vendors

“Communication, trust, and competency are the things that we look for when we’re evaluating new vendors,” John says. Additionally, he prioritizes getting the best possible price for the best service he can. 

John McGeown | Real Estate Background

  • President of High Fidelity Property Management, a third-party property management company that has 1,000 apartment units under management throughout Chicago's North Side neighborhoods.
  • Portfolio:
    • GP of 100 units
    • LP of 36 units
  • Based in: Chicago, IL
  • Say hi to him at:
  • Greatest lesson: Never give up! This business doesn't slow down for me, so I have to work hard to keep up. Sometimes tomorrow is about learning from yesterday.

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Direct download: JF_2927_John_McGeown_.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:30am EST

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