Hey, welcome back to the show! I’m really excited to have my friend, Armando Banuelos, join us today. He’s done over 5,000 deals in the last 15 years, is really an amazing guy, and has built an impressive business! Today, we’re going to learn his back story and how it will impact you. His success comes with a lot of hard work, pivoting, working with people, and doing whatever it takes to get forward which is really what entrepreneurship is all about.

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Mike: [00:00:00] Hey, everybody. Welcome back to the show. Really excited to have my friend Armando join us today. He’s got over 5,000 deals, uh, in the last 15 years. Really an amazing guy has built a impressive business, and we’re going to learn about his backstory and how it impacts you. It leaves a lot of hard work pivoting, working with people, doing whatever it takes to get forward, which is really what entrepreneurship is all about.

Professional real estate investors know that it’s not really about the real estate. That real estate is just a vehicle for freedom. A group of over a hundred of a nation’s leading real estate investors from across the country, meet several times a year at the investor fuel real estate mastermind to share ideas on how to strengthen each other’s businesses, but also to come together as.

And be more fulfilling lives or all of those around us on today’s show. We’re going to continue our conversations of fueling our businesses [00:01:00] and our lives. I’m glad you’re here.

Hey, Armando. Welcome to the show. Thank you for having me on. Yeah. Glad to have you, buddy. Um, man, you’re, you’re, you’re just a really amazing guy with a great story, and I know you built an impressive business and I know there’ve been times where. You know, here’s your in California. So the market was hit.

Your, your kind of business was hit on, usually hard with COVID because you do a lot of trustee sales and stuff in the back. And so a lot of things have changed. Your cheese has been moved as they say. Uh, but I also know you’re persistent and keep pivoting to find a way forward. And so I think that hopefully is, you know, we’re gonna learn a little bit more about you today, but also just, uh, some amazing messages for, you know, getting, uh, getting hit with, uh, getting, hitting a brick wall, I guess, and finding a way forward despite that.


Armando: indeed.

Mike: Well, Hey, tell [00:02:00] us your, uh, cause you didn’t start out as a real estate investor, just like me and really a lot of us, you know, we started somewhere else and found your way here. So maybe tell us a little bit about your, uh, your story.

Armando: Um, I’ll go back a little bit, but I’ve been working since age eight.

I’ve been working out in the fields. I that’s, that’s where I got started working every summer. We we’d follow the crops, but you know, I just remember my mom telling me you got to go to school. That’s that’s where, that’s where the motivation started. She just kept pushing and pushy. She’d always say just unless you want to do this for the rest of your life, you better go to school and.

And that was the, the door opener for me, that was always in the back of my mind. I, I was very fortunate to graduate from, from high school and, uh, where I, where I grew up, not many relatives, not many friends really finished up. They, they would leave and go work. So, so again, that was, that was, that was [00:03:00] different for me.

And, and again, I attribute that for. Just working very hard since a young age and, and being pushed by my parents.

Mike: So, yeah, that’s great. Were you the first person in your family to go to.

Armando: Actually I was, I was a second, a cousin of mine ended up, uh, going prior to,

Mike: okay. Okay. I was the first in my family to go.

Cause I grew up in a very, kind of very much working class family and had that strong work ethic that I know that you’re talking about. So you, I, I wasn’t working from age eight, but I think my whole family, I remember my mom having to two or three jobs or whatever she needed to do to kind of get by. And I, my whole family is that way.

And they still are today. And I see that that work ethic is always kind of driven me, although I wanted something different, but I didn’t know necessarily what it was, but I wanted something different.

Armando: So yeah, I just, uh, I just continued to work hard to this day, you know, that’s that’s that keeps me going.

And I was probably never the, the most [00:04:00] talented sports player or, or. Or students or whatever you want to call it. But, you know, that’s one of the things that I do is I just outward. Yeah. Yep.

Mike: Yeah. So you went to college and then you you’ve kind of followed a more traditional, uh, career path. Well,

Armando: uh, we were raised on a, a salary of $13,000 a year for a family of seven.

So I got an opportunity to, uh, to get, uh, a job at Hewlett Packard in Colorado Springs, making $48,000 a year. I, I thought I had an eight. Yeah, $48,000 a year. And then an opportunity presented itself to go work for Deloitte intuition, make 78,000. I really thought I had made it and I was, I was excited just traveling, seeing different places, and then e-business downturn, the hit I was laid off and that really changed things up in my world.


Mike: So, [00:05:00] so you got, and then what happened? Did you just, how did you make your way into real estate? It probably had been in the back of your mind. You’d had some interest in it previously. I bet. You know, it just

Armando: ended up moving back to, uh, to the central valley here in California, uh, Fresno area. I had no idea what I was going to do.

I was, I was looking for employment. I wanted to give back. I tried a few different, uh, different jobs where they were paying me 30 something thousand dollars a year, uh, by moving back to the ballot. And I knew there was something better out there. And there was a tragedy, a friend of mine, but, uh, his name was Armando as well.

He passed away and parents separate from something tragic. Like that takes place. They went through a separation and I followed their house. I was just looking at their house. Uh, the weeds were growing notice that it had gone into foreclosure at the time, which I had no idea what, what that was, but I ended up going to the auction with no.

Uh, it went back to the bank at $58,000 [00:06:00] and I was emotionally connected to that property. We ended up buying it, uh, at 78,000 as an REO. So that, that was the beginning of the journey wasting

Mike: money. Awesome. And then, uh, you’ve gone on to do over 5,000 deals. So a lot of that was what percentage of that would you say is trustee sale type stuff?

Armando: That was maybe about 80% of it. 80% of it was, was trustee sales. Uh, we, we landed an investor who just believed in us, uh, gave us an open checkbook and. That’s how we got started. And I, I say we, there were three, there’ve been three partners for awhile and now we’re

Mike: two. Okay. And that’s all in the central valley area.

There that’s throughout Califor, California. We

Armando: we’ve tried some stuff in Texas. We’ve tried some stuff in Florida, but, uh, there was such a deal flow in California that, uh, we didn’t have to go anywhere else.

Mike: Yeah. [00:07:00] So your cheese has kinda gotten moved again here since COVID hit with the trustee sale stuff, drying up a bit.

And I know it’s going to probably come back around, but just talk about your life lessons in. Effectively your cheese moving, like you’re doing something away. You said you got laid off from a job. Those that was, uh, before you started in real estate investing. But because I think one of the skills that’s feels like it’s not as, as missing more today with folks is the persistence of something changing and people just can’t adapt.

Shut down, but you’ve got to move forward. Right.

Armando: And indeed, one of the things I tell everyone is don’t get comfortable. That’s that’s where we were. We were comfortable. We thought a trustee sales would last forever. Obviously we had only been through one cycle before, but, uh, our business, we probably lost about 90% of our business, uh, at auctions.

And it’s really, really changed. So we had to adapt. Yeah. When, when [00:08:00] people were talking about, uh, wholesaling and, and buying off market deals, we weren’t doing it. We were, we were just hopeful that we’d buy three to five properties a week. Sometimes we buy three, five properties a day. Uh, the deal flow was there and we had to really change things up.

We had to adapt to we’re, we’re buying from wholesalers. We’re looking at. On the MLS where we’re networking things that we weren’t doing before, because. I was, I was comfortable. The team was comfortable. So, uh, we’re, we’re, we’re doing marketing now and that’s a completely new world for us, but we’re, we’re doing deals with other partners, uh, across the nation.

You just have to adapt and be willing to adapt.

Mike: Yeah. For those. Cause you know, a lot of things have changed for people that it’s interesting. When I look back in my market here, there are some people that have been in the business for a long time, kind of the old dogs, if you will. [00:09:00] And not many of them are, a lot of them have just kind of disappeared over the past, like year or two.

I just think the market has shifted even before COVID it was just, there’s more technology involved. There’s more. Um, there may be. Some of it is where we are in the market cycle. There’s a lot of, you know, a lot of competition, a lot more competition now. And there’s more things like texting cold calling like more ways to generate leads.

Uh, there’s probably this merger of realtor, more realtors becoming investors. It’s getting harder and harder to make money as a real estate agent on average. So they’re moving into the investor space. And so there’s a lot of stuff going on, but you know, then you start to get around groups like investor fuel that we’re, that you’re obviously a member of and there’s people that are just crushing it.

And it’s almost like despite the fact that the cheeses moved, they’re thriving, but others are not right. And so what do you think, what do you think separates those two people? What’s the mindset difference there? I just think

Armando: you always have to be improving your. If you, if you work on yourself and I [00:10:00] always say mind, body, soul, uh, for example, I, I just, these past two years, since, since COVID started have been the best years of my life, just focusing on my, on my health, focusing on, on renewing the mind to so many different things, going on, spending more time with the family and, and it’s, you just have to constantly be working on yourself.

Uh, I remember one of the things. If you wanted to, if you want to be a partner, you got to walk, talk and act like a partner. Well, and at Deloitte Touche, you know, that’s, that’s been one of the biggest things. If I want to be able to compete with the big boys out there, you gotta be renewing yourself. You gotta be willing to change right?

When they move your cheese, because the cheese will get more. Yeah. Yeah.

Mike: Yeah. Let’s talk about, uh, your business was kind of founded on the foundation of partnerships, and I know you do a lot of deal partnerships. Now you partner with people, even in other parts of the country sometimes. So talk about, and I think there’s more of that [00:11:00] happening today than there was in years past.

Like, I think people are open to being more virtual investors in deals and virtually investing in markets and things like that, obviously. So talk about the power of, you know, kind of partnering with other. You know what

Armando: I will say. This I’ve had a tremendous amount of success with, with just partners.

Obviously not every, not every single partnership has been perfect and we’ve, we’ve gone through, through some partnership separations, but I wouldn’t be here today. If it wasn’t for some very amazing partners, I can go. Even to this day, I probably have seven or eight partners I closely work with and you’re always learning.

Uh, you partner up with people that bring in different skillsets and then you get to see what they’re doing and you improve yourself. So it’s always, uh, for awhile, we think we know it all, but you know what? Partners are amazing. They’ve been amazing. And even to this day, I don’t want to do all the heavy [00:12:00] lifting that we would do before.

So we partner up with what I call young hungry lions that are willing to go out there and do all the work and.

Mike: Yep. Yeah. I think it’s interesting that some of it’s a business. I think some of it is a business maturity thing too, or maybe a, maybe a personal maturity thing. It’s like when I was younger, uh, I just thought I could do it all.

Or why would I split that I can do it myself or whatever, but, you know, we ha there’s only so much time in a day. Right. And, uh, and I think what happens is people that have that much. Um, they feel like they can do it all in, in their mind, they are doing it all, but there, they have a hundred percent of a much smaller number than maybe a 50% or a percentage of something that could be much larger.

Like you said, if you were working with people that have a different skillset than you, because the type that hustle is like the, you know, somebody that’s sales oriented or, uh, is a hard worker, has a very different skillset than somebody that is. [00:13:00] Um, more of a implementer, you know, the integrator type in this business.

And there’s a lot of administrative stuff in this business that has to happen to keep the wheels on the bus. And you know, for me, that’s not my strength for me. It’s always been that’s my wife’s strength. She’s my partner. But I think, you know, you, and I know a lot of people that are partners and, um, the best ones are made for people that have different skill sets.

They’re not like identical. Let me

Armando: give you an example. We currently own, uh, some multi-family units out in, in little rock, Arkansas never been there and have some great partners overseeing that I was a money partner there. Uh, we’ve gotten into some farming activities, uh, here locally, where we’re again, just amazing partners that understand that business.

We have some commercial, uh, smaller commercial units that, that are. That we’re working on, then again, if those doors wouldn’t open, if it wasn’t for partnerships.

Mike: Yeah. What, what do you, when you seek those things out, sometimes they find you, right. But when you find these partnerships, [00:14:00] what would you say to people just kind of on this vein, um, that they should look for when they’re, when they’re looking for a.

Armando: This’ll sound, uh, I’ll use this analogy, but sometimes it’s like when you’re starting to date. Right. And if you’re thinking about getting married, you gotta find someone that, that you see yourself with longterm. Not just, short-term not, not just for the moment, not just for the moment, meaning just to make money right now.

It’s how can you find someone that you’re willing to grow with longterm? Uh, They, when you, when you see that partner calling that you’re excited to pick up the phone because money can be made. Uh, but what if that partner just you and you and that partner don’t see IOI or, or disagree on small little items like this is really making sense.

Right? So that’s, that’s how I look at the partnerships that I’ve, again, I’ve had some great partnerships that we’ve had. We’ve made some great [00:15:00] money, but don’t see it being a long-term working relationship. It’s just for a specific deal.

Mike: Yeah. So yeah. There’s nothing wrong with being deal partners, right?

Like I think that’s, that’s kind of like the analogy of just dating before you are like formally married, right? As like let’s, we can partner on deals, but we don’t have to necessarily be owners of a legal entity together necessarily. Correct, correct. Yeah. That makes it a lot harder. Like it’s a little more permanent.

It’s not permanent, but it, it feels more permanent than just, uh, being partners on deals for awhile, which was nothing wrong with right. Indeed. Yeah. Well, what advice I’m kinda, I’m positioning us as like the old guys, but I know, but you, you and I are both like super young and energetic and young at heart and all that.

So, but you have a lot of wisdom for sure. That’s what I’m harping on here. So in terms of, uh, kind of sharing some wisdom for those that are most people that watch the show. Professional investors and, uh, not, not new [00:16:00] investors, but sometimes their businesses shifting, or maybe they’re struggling a little bit right now to kind of find their footing in this new world we find ourselves, or because the market’s changed, what you you’ve been through several changes.

What kind of advice would you give for people that are either getting started or they’ve been successful, but they’re effectively their cheese moved and they’re kind of repositioning themselves, uh, how to kind of find what your new path.

Armando: No, I’m just gonna go down. Uh, a couple of items. Number one is life got so much easier and better when we found employees, employees that you bring on employees to your business that can take out things that you don’t want to work on.

That that just changed my world. We, we went to the next level by bringing on employees that free you up to do the things that you really enjoy, uh, bringing in talented people. That want to grow with you, find a way to keep them motivated, keep them driven because they’re leading the path for you because [00:17:00] nowadays I want to enjoy them.

I just started coaching soccer. I want to enjoy my kids. I want to be able to, to be somewhere else on a vacation and things, still being, getting done deals still have to be made, whether whether or not. I’m coaching or on a vacation, uh, there’s still opportunities and we have an amazing team. Uh, so again, improve yourself to be able to lead a team and leading people is one of the most challenging things that you’ll probably find, but it can be one of the most rewarding things that you’ll find.

Yeah. It’s learning to deal with people along the way, because every personality is so different. So, uh, finding, find what makes people tick and, uh, find out what takes people up and learn to work with that. So.

Mike: Awesome. Well, um, Armando, so where do you see a you’re in California? So where do you see, um, how do you see the market changing here going forward?

You you’ve, you guys are usually, we [00:18:00] say when California. Uh, you know, you kind of see things coming from the west coast to the east coast typically. So what are some things you’re seeing? Like where do you see the market shift? And you’ve been doing this for a while and you’re in a market that tends to see kind of trends starting for, so what are some changes you see coming up?

Armando: You know, I do see some slow downs. We, uh, people were paying. Over a place value. They, you have 10 and 15 offers. It’s it’s not as hot as it was before things are, are slowing down a bit. Things are changing. And again, What type of check will take place. I have no idea other, uh, or else I’d be an economist, but I really do see things changing things slowing down.

Uh, I I’m very cautious as to the asset size that we’re buying here in Gallup. Uh, we, we want to stay at the average, uh, price point. We, we don’t, uh, we don’t want to [00:19:00] invest, uh, in bigger assets right now. And when I, and I speak from a, from a single family perspective, I just, your standard house, your average house that people can truly afford, because things, things will change.

How drastic will it change? I, I’m not sure, but I, I. Which had changed quite a bit, to be honest, because that’s when there’s more opportunities for us in

Mike: that’s. Right. And that is true. I think that a lot of people, if you haven’t been through a market cycle or two, you don’t really understand that this turbulence actually creates a lot of opportunity.

If you’re watching a lot of people just kind of get scared or they don’t want to change, or they’re afraid of change, but, um, I hate to kind of use an analogy of like a day trader, but you know, day traders, aren’t really investors. They’re really just watching the market shift and what they want is up and down movement.

Right. And so I think if you’re watching that creates a lot of opportunity for guys like us.

Armando: Yeah. Um, I’m a little, I’ll say wiser. I was going to say older, but uh, more conservative nowadays. I, [00:20:00] uh, I also say if, if I’m driving somewhere and I I’d rather go them. 75 and the speed limit 70. So I’m more cautious nowadays.

I don’t have to go 90. I don’t have to push it up to a hundred. That’s just not the approach that I take nowadays. I’m a bit more conservative in the properties that we buy and the price points that we pay. I’m not banking on, on a large amount of appreciation. Uh, so that’s, that’s where, where I’m at right at this point.

Mike: Yeah. Well, I appreciate that wisdom. And I think other other folks will too. There’s a lot of people that are have, haven’t been through a down cycle yet, and I’m not afraid of it. I’m not worried about it. It creates a lot of opportunity for sure. But I think, um, the best advice I could give to is kind of the younger crowd that’s been, it’s been in this for, you know, 5, 6, 7 years or less is to listen to some of the older guys in the room.

They have, they have, they’ve had a few more arrows in their back. Right?

Armando: I always go back to the same thing. If we’re driving to LA, which is three hours away, [00:21:00] I go down the same lane. I’m going 70, 75. There’s something, there’s some younger folks that are going 80, 85, just likelihood of an accident. Yeah,

Mike: so I get it.

So in the name of a wisdom, you’ve been in the investor fuel mastermind now for coming up on a year. Now, I remember when you first joined late last year. Um, and you know, there’s a lot of power in our group with just the wisdom of, of, you know, a hundred plus people that have been doing this for different, uh, have had, had a lot of different, I guess, lessons that they can share with one another.

But would you mind just kind of sharing your experience of being a part of investor fuel for the past?

Armando: No, I’ve been a part of a bunch of different groups and I, but investor fuel has just been amazing. Just the quality of people, the people willingness to help your leadership. It’s just been one of the best groups.

There’s, there’s no love in between. Everyone’s willing to help. That’s that’s the. [00:22:00] Biggest thing for me. And I’d been around the block a few times. Uh, I’m not a big hype kind of guy, but, uh, you know, you get the meat and potatoes and that’s, that’s what we’ve got here. And there’s so many people across the country that are willing to, to help in any way that they can.

So really, really grateful for, for investors.

Mike: Awesome. And we’re glad you’re a part of it. And that, that mindset is you do the same thing. I know that there’s plenty of people that have asked you for advice and guidance and things before, and that’s kinda how it works. And it’s just this flywheel of people helping each other, getting value and giving value.


Armando: No, indeed. I just, again, uh, sometimes we just don’t know what we don’t know, and I love being a part of investor feel so.

Mike: Awesome. Well, glad you’re a part of, and look forward to seeing you next week or the time I’m recording this. Our next meeting happens to be next week. So well, Armando, if folks wanted to connect with you in any way, uh, what, what would be a good way for them to maybe try to find you?


Armando: know, I always give out my phone number eight. I love having conversations with people and kinda seeing where [00:23:00] they’re at. So I’ll give him my phone number is five, five, nine. 8 0 5 65, 11 5 5 9 8 0 5 65 11. And, and my email address is Armando a R M a N D O at Capitol rig capital, spelled C a P I T O L R E g.com.

Armando at Capitol records.

Mike: Awesome. Well, thanks for sharing your story with us today and excited to, uh, uh, I appreciate having your friendship and appreciate all the wisdom you share with us.

Armando: Thank you. Thank you very

Mike: much. Awesome everybody. Uh, awesome Armando everybody. Hey, thanks. Hopefully you got some value from today’s.

Uh, Armando is, uh, it’s interesting because up front, we said we could talk about a thousand different things today. What do you wanna talk about? And it was just more of, um, his story and his life and pivoting and finding his way forward. And I think that is one thing that I, uh, kind of pride myself on as an entrepreneur.

And if you reach a certain level of success, I think you pride yourself on [00:24:00] the fact that if, if I lost it all tomorrow, I know I could get my way back in a. Much shorter period of time because you have that confidence to get back. And so therefore you have confidence to make changes when they, when you need to.

And this is one of those markets where you need to be ready for change, and you probably have already been making some changes. So, um, changing the market is not a bad thing. It’s a new opportunity for you. So hope you got some great value. If you guys have not checked out investor fuel yet, I’d love for you to go to investor fuel.com and learn more.

See if it might be a fit for you. We could jump on a call or. Talk about it a little bit. So until then see you on the next episode, have a great day.

Mike: Are you an active real estate investor? If so, and you want to latch onto the power of surrounding yourself with over a hundred of the nation’s leading real estate investors, all committed to building stronger businesses and living richer fuller lives. You should jump on a call with us to learn more about Investor Fuel. Simply visit investorfuel.com to get started.[00:25:00]