Insider Secrets Podcast Episode #53
Featuring Guest: DJ McClure
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DJ McClure is the Director of Sales at National Flood Experts who has helped their clients add millions in property value to their assets. DJ is originally from Kentucky with a background as a collegiate tennis player beginning his early career as a professional tennis coach before transitioning those skills into business development. DJ and his wife reside in Tampa where National Flood Experts is based overseeing a team dedicated to helping our clients.
DJ has a passion for building relationships and helping people solve problems. He works currently with real estate investors across the country to provide a niche solution to add value to their flood zone assets. Just in 2020, NFE helped their clients save over $4M.
“I have a passion for people; always have, and a passion for solving problems” – [DJ McClure]
“When you’re inside a 100-year flood map, that’s when the lending institutions require flood insurance” – [DJ McClure]
“What we’re giving investors is essentially the freedom to be able to make the decisions that they want to make” – [DJ McClure]
“I try to put myself in the other person’s shoes, and I try to think if I were the investor, what decision would I make?” – [DJ McClure]
“It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in, you need to have good people around you… Your Networth is equal to your Network” – [Mike]
- DJ McClure describes himself in a single word “Innovator”.
- He shares that he has a passion for people and solving problems.
- Regarding properties in the flood zone, a lending institution will require flood insurance, and while many take the insurance at face value, there are a lot of properties that can be excluded and removed from the flood zone, which removes the need for flood insurance.
- The work of National Flood Experts is to provide an engineering exhibit that proves that a property has a lesser flood risk than what the map is showing. It also involves showing data to determine which flood zone a property should be assigned to.
- The process is very objective and DJ McClure shares they haven’t had an issue with any of the banks.
- Rather than make any recommendations as to whether or not the flood insurance should be removed, what we’re giving investors is essentially the freedom to be able to make the decisions that they want to make.
- The goal is to put investors in the best financial situation possible to be able to insure their assets to the levels they choose. So when reviewing, they try to identify any situation that can be qualified, that will add financial benefit to the owner.
- This process can be done for all types of Real Estate, and all findings, as well as approval of any changes from such reviews, are carried out in collaboration with FEMA.
- Insider Secrets from DJ McClure: Don’t disqualify a property immediately just because it’s in the flood zone, in many cases after qualifying the property and approving with FEMA, the profits can be instantaneous.
- DJ McClure recommends having a good CRM to stay organized and being able to track your KPI in progress.
- Making High Stake Decisions: I try to put myself in the other person’s shoes, and I try to think if I were the investor, what decision would I make?
- Before engaging someone in the field of flood insurance, investors need to critically assess their understanding of flood zones and flood insurance.
- For new investors: Get a good relationship with a knowledgeable insurance broker, they’re a really important asset in your team especially if you find someone that fits with your type of strategy.
[00:42] Introducing our guest “DJ McClure”, Director of Sales at National Flood Experts.
[02:08] In one word, describe yourself personally and professionally?
[02:29] DJ McClure narrates his backstory.
[03:56] Discovering the hidden value in an asset; How National Flood Experts helps people in the Investment space.
[08:95[ How much pushback do you get from lenders and what kind of data do you present?
[13:10] How does the process go?
[15:00] How expensive is the process?
[17:24] DJ McClure’s insider secret for the multi-family investor.
[18:24] When it comes to technology and systems, what are the best resources you would recommend?
[19:14] DJ McClure’s approach to making high stake decisions
[20:00] What questions should an investor ask before engaging someone in your field on a project?
[20:46] Advice for new investors
[22:20] How to contact DJ McClure- Website (www.nationalfloodexperts.com)
or Email (firstname.lastname@example.org or Lisa@nationalfloodexperts.com)
[00:00:06]Mike: Hey welcome back this week and welcome to Insider Secrets. I’m joined by DJ McClure from National Flood Experts. DJ, do you want to tell our guests what they can hear today?
[00:00:18] DJ McClure: Yeah, we’re going to have a great conversation about some of the secrets and hidden value that can be added to your properties in flood zones.
[00:00:26] There’s a great opportunity to add some huge NOI and really multiply your property value. We’re going to talk about some of those hidden details.
[00:00:34] Mike: Yeah, and you will really be surprised. So you’re going to need to listen in and really understand how you can increase your NOI. We’ll see you inside.
[00:00:45] Kristen: Welcome to this week’s edition of Insider Secrets. The show that turns multifamily investing into reality. Each show we interview guests who are seasoned professionals, actively closing and managing real estate deals. Your [00:01:00] host Mike Morawski has more than 30 years of multifamily, real estate investing and property management experience.
[00:01:07] Mike is the founder of My Core Intentions. And he’s been involved in over $285 million of transactions. Focuses on helping you create short term cashflow and long-term wealth. Here’s your host, Mike.
[00:01:22] Mike: Hey, good afternoon, everybody. It’s Mike with Insider Secrets, and Insider Secrets is brought to you by My Core Intentions. And like I ask every week, have you been thinking about your intentions, have you really dug in and started to discover your why, and what really matters most in your life?
[00:01:40] You know at MCI, we really invest in our client’s future through an educational platform. With tools like this podcast, teaching you how to help create a more short-term cashflow and longer-term wealth. And our guests today, and I am really excited about our guest today. Cause we’re going to [00:02:00] bring some education to the table that you might not have thought about in the past. But I’m joined today by DJ McClure.
[00:02:07] He’s the director of sales at National Flood Experts. DJ, why don’t you say hi to our guests real quick.
[00:02:14] DJ McClure: Hi, Mike, thanks for having me on the show today. Look forward to speaking with everyone.
[00:02:18] Mike: You bet. And I’m really glad you’re here because I know that we’re going to provide a lot of information. But let me give you a little background, DJ and National Flood Experts help their clients add millions of value in to their property and their assets.
[00:02:33] DJ is originally from Kentucky with a background as a collegiate tennis player. Beginning at an early career age and a professional tennis coach before transitioning those skills into business develop. DJ and his wife reside in Tampa where national flood experts is based, overseeing a team of dedicated professionals, helping their clients, DJ has a passion for [00:03:00] building relationships and helping people solve problems.
[00:03:03] He works currently with real estate investors across the country to provide a niche solution, to add value to their flood zone assets. Just in 2020, National Flood Experts helped their clients save over $4 million. Boy, that’s a big number. And I know in the past DJ that I’ve looked at properties that might be in a flood zone, backed away from. But before we really get into it and drill down into what exactly you do, what I like to ask all my guests is in one word, just describe to us who you are personally and professionally? In one word.
[00:03:45] DJ McClure: I would Innovator.
[00:03:46] Mike: An innovator, interesting. Yeah because this process is a innovative process, isn’t it? This whole thing that we’re going to go through. So why don’t you talk about your backstory a little bit, tell us [00:04:00] how you wound up where you’re at today through tennis and everything else that you’ve done.
[00:04:05] DJ McClure: Yeah, absolutely. I have a passion for people and always have, and a passion for solving problems, and really seeing improvement in things. And so as tennis was my background and then naturally transitioning into coaching on a professional level, you’re looking for solutions to things that maybe are difficult, right?
[00:04:31] Solving a problem that isn’t just so easy on the surface. And so in doing that and just working with lots of individuals, I took those skills and really just transitioned that into the business development world. And so then, how can we look at a scenario and find a solution that might be below the surface?
[00:04:52] And so when I first met the owner, Brad Hubbard of national flood experts, he was telling me about what they do and [00:05:00] what they’re really trying to do. And across the country, the company obviously started here in Florida just very impressed and very fascinated by the opportunity that’s there. And then being able to take that to more people around the country.
[00:05:16] Mike: So I know before the show, you and I talked a little bit about discovering the hidden value in a asset that you might otherwise not think was there. So can you talk about that a little bit and how National Flood Experts really helps somebody in the investment space or in the multifamily space with their assets?
[00:05:40] DJ McClure: Yeah, absolutely. The flood zones on a macro level, they group a lot of properties together. And so within one area, you could have numerous apartment communities that are essentially all being considered within a similar flood risk. And then anything in a flood zone, a lending [00:06:00] institution is going to then require flood insurance.
[00:06:03] And for most people, you assume that you’re going through the closing process. There’s so many other difficulties that you’re overcoming. Most people just get the insurance, they just take it at face value and move on. And so when you really start digging into the flood zone itself and getting into the data, you determine that there’s a lot of properties that can actually be excluded and removed from the flood zone.
[00:06:29] And so FEMA has a program for this. They depend on the private sector to help provide additional information. And so what we’re doing is getting into these properties. Obviously land is not flat and identifying properties that this solution will qualify. And then in term, the flood insurance requirement from the lender is then removed.
[00:06:53]So you’re looking at an immediate impact to the NOI of the property. And then at that point you can insure the [00:07:00] property based on what your personal risk strategy may be.
[00:07:06] Mike: So a lot of times I’ve seen properties and I’ve been in the real estate space for 30 years. And I see a lot of properties that show up on the village map or city map or County map that says, Hey, this is a flood zone.
[00:07:20] And you look at that property and it could be sitting on a Hill. It could be higher than the neighbor’s property. And you go, this is not in a flood zone. There’s not a river around the Creek. How did you argue that point if it’s sitting on that map that says it’s a flood zone, how do you get that taken care of?
[00:07:43] DJ McClure: Yeah, that’s a really good question. And what happens is that within these communities they’re assessing the data that they have available and they’re providing the best estimation that they can. So there’s no intention of pulling [00:08:00] someone in that maybe they shouldn’t be.
[00:08:02] But what we’re doing is providing engineering exhibits that essentially prove to Thema that this particular property has a lesser flood risk than perhaps what the map is showing. And so when you’re inside a hundred year flood map, that’s when the lending institutions require flood insurance. And so if we can show that based on the data of the buildings themselves, elevation, as it compares to the flood zone, we can say, look, these particular buildings qualify to be in a different flood zone X, and that’s when they’re able to get the more preferred flood insurance pricing. Or if they don’t want the policy, then they’re no longer required to have it. And they can cancel it.
[00:08:49] Mike: So you mentioned a hundred year flood map and is that where they coined the term a hundred year rain, where it doesn’t flood there [00:09:00] all the time or very often, but maybe a hundred years. Is that where that comes from?
[00:09:05] DJ McClure: Yeah, it’s a term that’s just become used in describing the scenarios. It’s not so much in the literal sense. But essentially it’s saying that within a mortgage cycle, they expect that there’s a chance that there could be a flood once during that period.
[00:09:22] Mike: So how much pushback do you get from the lender on this. And what type of data do you need to go to them with to say, Hey this, doesn’t fly in the flood zone anymore?
[00:09:35] DJ McClure: Yeah, that’s a really good question. And we get that from a lot of our clients when we’re going through the initial review process. All the federal backed banks follow the exact same compliance process.
[00:09:47] And so when you’re going through the purchasing process, a flood zone determination form by a third party is run for the lender. And if you’re in an a or V flood zone, then [00:10:00] automatically the flood insurance requirement is enforced. If you’re in an X, then it’s not, it’s very black and white. And so then once we have the federal letter of map amendment from FEMA, the bank then goes in, their flood zone determinations are updated and corrected, and then that flood insurance mandate is removed. So it’s very objective in that sense. And we really we’ve never had an issue with any of the banks.
[00:10:29] Mike: It’s interesting. So let’s just hypothetically, I just want to run a scenario, right? So let’s say that you get the flood insurance removed off the property. And now a flood HAMP, is it that property is not insured now, right? You’re not going to be insured for that rising water?
[00:10:52] DJ McClure: We don’t make any kind of recommendations in terms of removing the flood insurance itself. Because as we’ve seen in areas like Houston [00:11:00] during hurricane Harvey, even the lesser risk flood areas can flood.
[00:11:07] And what we’re giving investors is essentially freedom to be able to make the decisions that they want to make. So you’re not then being held to the limits that the lender put in place at closing. Because for example, if you’re going through Fannie Mae, they’re going to want the full building replacement value insured on the flood. And then potentially also business income replacement.
[00:11:33] So we’ve seen properties that they have hundreds of thousands in flood insurance. And then once that lender requirements taken away, they can still have a preferred flood policy that may only be a thousand dollars a building. And so still have coverage, but then you’ve also made a huge improvement to your NOI.
[00:11:56] Mike: Okay. So there are ways of workarounds around that can [00:12:00] cut the cost, but still give you the coverage. Okay, that’s interesting. And you guys help from a consulting standpoint to put those things in place? Or I know you said you don’t make any recommendations, but do you give some coaching or direction alternatives?
[00:12:17] DJ McClure: Exactly. We want to put investors in the best financial situation possible to be able to insure their assets to the level that they choose. And so then when we’re going through the review process, we’re looking for any situation that we can qualify, that’s going to have a financial benefit to the owner.
[00:12:37] So the first thing we look at is can we get the property out of the flood zone? So that lender requirements removed. Because then when you go to sell the property, it automatically transfers. And so, many of our investors can then recognize that property value increase. Either if they’re going through a refund or if they’re going through an exit process.
[00:13:00] [00:13:00] But then when that process doesn’t qualify, then we also start applying our flood insurance expertise internally. We’ve blended the two worlds with the engineering and the flood insurance. And that allows us to then qualify a lot of scenarios that maybe they’re still required to have the flood insurance, but we’ve helped them reduce the cost, get a refund back and still move on a positive foot.
[00:13:27] Mike: Very interesting. So this can be new, you can do this process on any type of real estate. You could do it on a single family house, multiunit, industrial or office, right?
[00:13:41] DJ McClure: That’s correct. It’s not unique to just multifamily, it just fits really well within their strategies typically. But we help people all across the country with all types of real estate assets.
[00:13:54] Mike: Yeah. And I bring that up because a lot of times we have some single family investors who own a bunch [00:14:00] of single family properties. This could be helpful to their portfolio, but they’re the ones too.
[00:14:05] They’re making a transition into the smaller multifamily space, maybe two to 15 unit, and then transitioning into that next mid-size to larger spaces. So as they grow, it’s good. This is good information to have, right? Good knowledge to have.
[00:14:21] So DJ, talk about the process a little bit. How does the process go? If I’m an owner and I own a 200 unit complex or own a 20 unit building, how does the process go?
[00:14:35] DJ McClure: That’s a great question. We’re a very easy group to work with. And so when we’re talking to a new investor, we’re just trying to gather some information on the property. Do you have elevation certificates on the buildings? Can we see an existing survey? Can we review the existing flood insurance declaration pages?
[00:14:57] And then we take all that information and build it [00:15:00] into our internal analysis and figure out what solutions can we qualify with the current information. And then is there any information that may be missing?
[00:15:10] And because we have engineers internally that are licensed all over the country. There are situations where sometimes we need to send one of our team out to the site. There’s other times where we can do everything with the existing information. And so we want to do whatever we can to qualify the maximum solution possible.
[00:15:30] Mike: Interesting. I know you mentioned FEMA a couple of times, how does FEMA play into any of this, if at all?
[00:15:37] DJ McClure: Yeah, so we coordinate directly with FEMA. So if we have a property where we’ve qualified, that we can get the flood zone changed, we do hundreds and hundreds of these projects throughout the year.
[00:15:49] So we’re interacting with them pretty consistently. And then if they ask the questions, we address that. But they review our findings, they approve everything. And then [00:16:00] they in turn issue, the federal letter, approving everything for the map change.
[00:16:04] Mike: Interesting. And how about cost-wise? How expensive is this for me as a property owner to utilize your service?
[00:16:13] DJ McClure: Yeah, that’s a great question. We build our pricing model on the current flood insurance in place. So we’re looking at getting a property out of a flood zone. Whatever the current insurance for the flood is for those buildings. Our consulting is going to be one years flood insurance. We put a guarantee in place that if the project is not successful, the client doesn’t owe us anything. And so we don’t even invoice a client until we have the successful finished document at the end from FEMA.
[00:16:47] Mike: Interesting. So, I know I asked about the lender and any pushback from the lender, but do you ever get pushback from the insurance company? Saying that they won’t remove [00:17:00] it or don’t want to remove their flood insurance rider?
[00:17:05] DJ McClure: A good question as well. So the fund insurance carriers, they follow the data that’s current for those properties. So if FEMA changes the flood zone determination for those buildings, the insurance carriers in turn gonna follow the same information. Flood insurance is a very data-based insurance, unique from some of the other types.
[00:17:27] And so it’s based on a lot of different variables, the type of flood zone, the elevation of the flood zone itself, the elevation of the buildings, your bill, all these different variables come into play. We change one of those variables being a flood zone that has a massive impact in reducing what the ultimate price is.
[00:17:50] Mike: Sure, interesting. Sounds like a very opportunistic type of process where you really could create [00:18:00] value. And of course you save thousands of dollars getting increased property value, and it’s going to help the owners cashflow. And one of the things I always teach people is how do we create short-term cashflow and long-term wealth?
[00:18:13] And if you’re increasing that for them, that’s really a great win-win situation. So this show’s called Insider Secrets, and I always ask my guests, what secrets would you share with the multifamily investor when you’re out in the field running around, you meet with other investors and property owners? What secrets would you share with a real estate investor today?
[00:18:39] DJ McClure: Yeah, I would say that don’t disqualify a property immediately just because it’s in a flood zone. There’s a lot of secrets value add to be have with some of those properties that the previous seller might not be aware of. It’s not uncommon that we work with someone once they’ve gotten their LOI in place and we’re into the due [00:19:00] diligence.
[00:19:00] We’ll then qualify the solution, get it approved by FEMA before the closing. And then they’ve gone into the purchase at one price and then day one, they’ve already got some additional NOI that wasn’t part of their underwriting.
[00:19:14] Mike: Wow. That’s big, that’s a great answer. Thank you for that. Hey one another question I like to ask my guests is what are a couple of the best resources that you like to use in your business? And in what you do when it comes to technology and systems?
[00:19:37] DJ McClure: Internally we base a lot of our systems with Salesforce. I know that seems a little generic. But for us, I think for any investor having a good CRM to stay organized and being able to track your own internal KPIs and progress.
[00:19:54] For us internally, we’re really big on efficiency. We’re a detail type organization. [00:20:00] And so managing details down to the finest level is what enables us to continue helping people and being successful.
[00:20:08] Mike: Yeah, very good. Thanks for that. How about high stake decisions? So when you’re faced with a high stake decision in your business world, how do you go about processing that and making what appears to be the right choice?
[00:20:24] DJ McClure: I try to put myself on the other person’s shoes. Try to think if I was the investor, what decision would ionic? We’re very transparent with the whole situation. And so if we’re trying to make a decision on a property is to what we think the best solution in place would be.
[00:20:41] I like to just put myself on the other side of the scenario. And then imagine if it were my own personal asset, how would I handle it?
[00:20:51] Mike: Very good. So if an investor is looking to engage with somebody who offers your service [00:21:00] in the marketplace today, what questions should they be asking to make sure that they’re getting the same type of service that you would provide?
[00:21:13] DJ McClure: I think I would ask if you’re talking about working with someone to possibly alleviate this situation.
[00:21:20] Mike: Yeah
[00:21:21]DJ McClure: What’s the level of their understanding. Do they truly understand the flood zone? Do they understand the flood insurance? Do they understand the unique scenarios that can come into play for properties in a flood zone?
[00:21:36]Mike: Okay, great. Any advice that you’d give a new investor coming into the market?
[00:21:43] DJ McClure: Yeah. A new investor coming into the market I would say really try to get a good relationship with a knowledgeable insurance broker, and really vet that process. Cause there’s a, lot of fantastic brokers [00:22:00] out there that really understand all the different types of insurances.
[00:22:03] And really have a good risk management mindset. And I think getting a good team, I’m sure you talk about having a good team. And and we’re in we’re engineering company, but we work with so many different insurance brokers. And I think they are a really important asset in your team. And so early on in your career, finding someone that really fits with your type of strategy and that can really be with you along the journey.
[00:22:31] Mike: Yeah. DJ, I talk a lot about team building. I actually do a whole lesson on team building and networking. And I believe that it doesn’t matter what industry you’re in, that you need to have good people around you. I heard somebody say the other day that your network is equal to your net-worth. So who’s around you, and you’re right about insurance people and, everybody else in the industry.
[00:22:55] But I believe that you and national flood [00:23:00] experts is somebody who should be on every person’s team right now. And as part of that network and building. With that said, if somebody wants to try and get a hold of you, how do they go about getting hold of you?
[00:23:17] DJ McClure: Yeah they’re welcome to go to our website, www.nationalfloodexperts.com.
[00:23:23]I think you had met one of the ladies on my team initially. That’s where we were initially introduced. Anyone that’s wanting to reach out and potentially have a conversation about a property. They’re more than welcome to reach out to Lisa. Her email is email@example.com.
[00:23:40] My email is also just firstname.lastname@example.org. And we’ll make sure that anyone that has a property in a flood zone is well taken care of, and hopefully we can find a solution to add some value.
[00:23:53] Mike: Awesome. Thanks for that. And we’ll have all that detail in our show notes. So that listeners will be able [00:24:00] to go back and find you or find Lisa.
[00:24:02] And when I first met Lisa, I was just really impressed with how this whole system works, and how she described it. So she very helpful. So I’m going to advise any of the listeners to make sure that if you have a property that’s currently in a flood zone or looking at buying one that’s in a flood zone, that you at least give DJ or Lisa a call and find out if they can help you have it removed to save you some money and create a healthier cashflow.
[00:24:33] DJ, thanks for being here today. You’re a wealth of knowledge, that’s for sure. And it’s been very insightful cause I know that this is something that’s not readily talked about, not always talked about and can be very helpful. So thanks, and I look forward to talking to you again soon.
[00:24:49] And everybody, remember go like us on social media, go to YouTube, subscribe, go to Apple and subscribe. Like us, love us, do all those things that help our [00:25:00] ratings. We’ll look forward to seeing you next week. Have a great week everybody.
[00:25:04] DJ McClure: Thank you.
[00:25:06] Kristen: Thank you, Mike, and thank you for joining us for another great episode of Insider Secrets. As always, Insider Secrets is brought to you by My Core Intentions. Join us on social media and visit mycoreintentions.com where you can get expert coaching on all things, multifamily investing in property management.
[00:25:24] We’re looking forward to having you back again next week for more Insider Secrets.