Former baseball player Ryan Pineda traded RBI for REI
When former baseball player turned real estate investor, business owner, and mentor, Ryan Pineda was just 12 years old, he was suspended from school for selling…Pokémon cards.
You read that right. He was suspended for selling popular trading cars to his friend for $100. It was an upfront deal. No shenanigans. But in the end, parents and policies prevailed, and Pineda was instructed to return his profit. But as a savvy businessman, he got his cards back first.
Later, in his twenties, Pineda traded up when he transitioned his trading-card business for his furniture-flipping business. Earning upwards of $8,000 per month buying, rehabbing, and selling couches listed on Craigslist, Pineda had a knack for buying low and selling high.
Perhaps Pineda is a natural-born flipper, but he was not satisfied with his lucrative and flexible business. Destined for something greater than couch-flipping, he knew he needed something more substantial for the long term.
“After a couple years of fixing up furniture for resale, I thought, ‘what else can I do?’ I couldn’t scale. Plus, it was not fulfilling, so I was looking for a way out. At that point, I had been in the minor leagues for years and knew the Big Leagues were unlikely,” he said.
He had earned his real estate license for a means of income during the off-season and now had several years’ experience as a Realtor®, but he didn’t enjoy it enough to make it his career.
“I didn’t have a back-up plan to baseball,” Pineda said. “Being a real estate agent was my first real job, but I got burned out after just a couple years.”
A man of faith, Pineda prayed for a sign leading to his next step. He was 24 years old. He was a newlywed. Little did he know he was about to no longer be a Realtor®, but rather a real estate investor.
A New Path
In 2014, Pineda and his wife celebrated their one-year anniversary with a trip to New Orleans. Despite his lack of affinity for a career as a Realtor®, the Pineda’s sold their first home and made good money. It was from that sale that Pineda realized the profit in real estate. This was also around the time he was searching and praying for a sign to his next step.
“During our trip to New Orleans, I saw a commercial about real estate investing and at first thought it was B.S. But it influenced me enough to buy some books on the topic and to start learning. And then, I somehow knew my next step was to invest in real estate,” he said.
On the plane back home, Pineda sat by an experienced flipper. They conversed on the long flight back to Las Vegas.
“That was my sign that I was on the right path,” Pineda said. “I called hard money lenders. I didn’t know anyone with money and had only $10,000 in the bank. I took out a cash advance on my credit cards and kept them maxed out so I could keep buying deals.”
He flipped five homes his first year, all with his own money. His second year in REI was 2016, and he flipped 20 properties.
In 2017, he was officially released from baseball and his real estate business was exploding, so he focused on flipping. He knew he had given his all at baseball, and now he was going to give his all to the game of real estate.
“It was the first time in my life that I didn’t have baseball, so I devoted all my energy and competitiveness into real estate investing. I didn’t know what I was doing, but it was working!”
In 2018, Pineda had his best year to date. He flipped more than 140 homes. He felt successful and happy with his choice to pursue a career as a real estate business owner.
But, 2019 brought a slower market and some personal adversities, which led to a temporary setback. Although, he still flipped 100 homes! Pineda welcomed the challenge of navigating through the cold Las Vegas market and breaking through that ceiling. He learned that “success doesn’t reveal as much as failure.”
“In 2019, I truly failed at real estate. A good market hides mistakes,” Pineda said. “I had to practice self-awareness and assess my inefficiencies. I learned plenty about failure in baseball. If a baseball player fails seven out of 10 times, they’re an all-star. But that’s not the case with real estate. You cannot hold on to failure. Every day is a process.”
Pineda said he practices continual self-assessment and keeps striving for improvement, methods essential for an influencer. And because he gets so many of his leads and clients through social media, Pineda is, in fact, an influencer.
“My message is all about balance,” he said.
For Pineda, the acronym RAISE is his beacon to keep him on the right track. He assesses these five life areas every day:
“This self-awareness practice has helped me shift my mindset to realize it’s not all about dollars.”
When someone transitions from one profession to another that is seemingly completely unrelated, it bares questioning what, if anything, correlates between the two. How, then, is a professional baseball career related to crushing it in real estate?
For Pineda, the answer is two-fold: Extreme Discipline and Competitiveness.
“Athletes understand discipline. They must develop a routine and become robotic because that’s the only way to develop their skills and to get better,” Pineda said.
“The same is true in real estate. To be successful, you must be on the phone prospecting, or knocking on doors, or whatever the case is for you. You must be disciplined in your routine and understand that with the more reps you do, the better you’ll get. I see many people get bored, but when you learn to love your craft, you have a greater chance of success.”
Pineda’s competitive nature served him well as an athlete, and he has noticed this trait serve him well in business. But a competitive nature does not mean wanting others to fail.
“I do not strive to destroy other flippers,” he explained. “But rather, being competitive influences my desire to want to get better. I want to surround myself with as many movers and shakers I can because it inspires me to get better. Business is business and you will lose if you don’t keep evolving.”
One specific way Pineda has learned to evolve as a real estate investor and business owner is by negotiating creative financing. By entertaining creative capital, he has figured out how to turn “dead deals into big deals.”
“On our acquisition side, we’re super creative on our deal structure,” he said. “We just had a deal where the market value of the homes was $825-850,000 on three different properties. They wanted 900k for all three. I thought, ‘no one would pay 900.’ Other investors might offer 600. I structured the deal and said I would give them 900 but on the conditions that they would finance over 15 years with no interest. Principle-only payments. And I would put $15,000 down, $5,000 per property. They like the deal because they get what they want. But I understand that I will cashflow on three properties for only 15k and at the end of 15 years, I’ll only owe about $300,000 on three properties. At three percent appreciation, they’ll be worth 1.3 million. Due to creative financing, I turned a deal no one else saw as a deal into a win-win for the seller and me and a potential $1million 15 years down the road. We accepted an offer to wholesale to someone else for $100k assignment fee. That hasn’t closed yet, so we’ll see. But either way, whether we make $100,000 today or $1million 15 years from now, I know it’s a great deal.”
Another example of Pineda’s creative financing is a 10-unit apartment complex in Vegas that he bought with seller-financing. He said he negotiated no payments for three years while his company fixed it up. Now, it’s a cash-flowing property.
“There are so many creative ways to make deals out of nothing,” he said.
Photos by Bry Christobal