Build to Rent with Wagner Nolasco

Wagner Nolasco, owner of Build 2 Rent, has spent 20+ Years as a Real Estate Investor, Developer, and Builder. His vertically integrated business model has led him to extreme success and financial freedom.

His accomplishments as a real estate agent and broker has made him one of Central Florida’s Top 100 Most Influential People in Real Estate. He also owns his own property management company to help him manage his personal portfolio, but also his clients and investors which, therefore, feeds into his insurance company. His mission is to add value, bring value to his clients, save money, and maximize cash flow.

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Build to Rent with Wagner Nolasco

Hey, everybody, and welcome to Season Two of the Real Estate Run Down. I want to let you guys know what a special treat this is today, because this guy is not just a guest, this man is my friend. I want to welcome you to the show today. Wagner Nolasco. Wagner, how are you man?

Shannon, good to see you. Good to talk to you, buddy. I’m doing well. How is your family? How are you doing?

We’re doing great, we’re doing great. One of the things you guys are gonna figure out really quickly is how positive this guy is, right? And when you hear his story and you understand where he came from, you’re going to understand why this guy is so thankful and positive and happy to be around. And maybe just maybe at the end of the day, you’re going to see that maybe you should be a lot more thankful about where you live and what you do. Wagner, tell us a little bit about who you are, where you came from, that brought you to this place that you get to call home now and what you’re doing in that to change the world.

Well, if you guys can hear me right now, you’re probably noticed that my accent is from Georgia? No, I’m just kidding. But well, you know, I think I just wanted to start saying this, the US is the best country in the world. And I’m very blessed to be here with my family and my girls. So my story started in 1993. Actually, 1991 is when my father was a bank executive for the Bank of Brazil and during a bank robbery, he got shot five times. Thank God, he survived. And in 1993, you know, my story started when I immigrated to the US. And next year is going to be 30 years that I have been blessed to be in this amazing country. And I’ll tell you what, it’s one of the biggest gifts that God has given me and my family is to actually have the opportunity to start from scratch, just start from zeros and then add zeros on the other side of the commas. You know, this country has given me everything I have my language opportunity, I learned how to, to respect the culture, the language, the people, to love this country and to volunteer to give back to the community. This country has taught me so much. I’m so grateful. So, that’s why I feel that I have a personal obligation to give back not only to my community, but to my country. And if you guys are listening to this, and you were born here, I just wanted to tell you that I don’t know how long have you traveled or if you have seen the world, but every time I come home, every time I come to the US, I feel like kissing the ground because this is the best country in the world, Shannon.

Wagner, when you got here, you had a dream, you had an understanding, but nobody gave you anything. And out of that you’ve built an amazing company that meets the build rent needs in Florida right now. But you know, you didn’t have any formal training in that you didn’t have any formal education. In fact, you started an education opportunity, right? Tell us a little bit more about that.

Yes, so I have all throughout my almost 30 years in the US a lot of businesses I owned. I actually started up a university in Florida but I’ve been in the construction industry for almost 22 years. This is really my core business. I was a supplier of stone and tile for large projects. So we did the Hard Rock Hotel and Casinos, the Borgata in Atlantic City, Trump Tower in Atlantic City, I mean a whole bunch the Four Seasons Great Exuma so we have been very blessed to work really hard and to be at the right place at the right time. So it doesn’t matter…

You never get to the right place at the right time unless you’re working really hard guys so pay attention to the order that he set that in because that is that is a gold nugget right there you have to work really hard and then you will find you’re in the right place at the right time and that hard work will pay off.

And this is exactly it. You guys are already at the right place. If you’re listening from the US, you just have to make it the right time, and the right time is you, right. An opportunity is not going to be presented to you or you won’t be able to visualize and see and understand an opportunity unless you’re ready for it right. So usually people call me lucky. You know the what the definition of luck is. Shannon, do the finishing off luck is when opportunity meets preparation. Right? Yeah, yeah. And that’s it. So the biggest investment you can have by living in the US is understanding the culture, the knowledge, the language, the opportunities that are present, especially in the construction real estate, because real estate, at least for me, it’s, it has made more millionaires and billionaires than any other asset class in the world that you could invest in or participate in. So that’s why I’m so grateful to being starting from a humble beginning, building myself up to become, you know, in delivering, you know, several 100 units every year, almost a billion dollars now of projects successfully delivered and another $750 million on the books. So this is the American dream. I’m very blessed to be here.

So let’s take that apart a little bit. Wagner, you talk about your global numbers, and I gotta tell you, man, a billion dollars, that’s absolutely amazing and impressive. I mean, that is just phenomenal and to be congratulated, right. But what you did, you found a niche, you’re not selling retail, you’re not dealing with that. You have what’s called a build to rent business. We hear Blackstone talking about they’re getting into it, or BlackRock, and, and we hear roof stocks getting into it, we hear all these people talk about build to rent. But what does build to rent really mean? Because I build buildings, and I rent them, but I’m not in the build to rent niche. What is that? And how did you come across that.

So it started by being an investor. So I’ve been investing in real estate for a long time, I semi-retired in 2016, with positive cash flow that it was able to build throughout my careers in life. But most important, what I found is, you know, I started buying a lot of old and homes and flipping them and fixing them. And this is really how I started in the construction world. And I have noticed that doesn’t matter how good of a job I did, or my subs did, there is always something that is probably 30, 40,50 year old in that house, right? So you can probably change the whole interior of the house, the electrical panel, the plumbing, but you can’t really change the walls or the foundation or things like that. So there’s something in real estate, it’s called capital expenditure. And once you’re in it, you don’t understand that it really can really make it or break your deal. But I really started building new homes at that time, they started making sense for rent. So we started doing individual infill lots, and then we started doing communities. So, instead of having one apartment building that I have to sell to one buyer or to one is additional buyer, and now I’m building 417 units and in Ocala, Florida, Bennett Oaks in those projects actually are 419 single family homes, and I sold them to individual investors. So, every investor’s on the title, my exit-strategy multiplies exponentially. I’m keeping some properties for myself, and I bring a better community. Because what you have to understand Shannon, in Florida, we have a lot of land, we have a lot of space.

You got a lot of tenants. That’s absolutely right. Absolutely right. Everybody’s moving to Florida.

But the format of building your rent is really true exponentiating your exit strategy and to maximize your gains. So one of the highest appreciating assets in a real estate class is single family homes, right? That’s where you have the most exit strategy capabilities because I can sell them to, to REITs. I can sell them to family office, I can sell them to banks to funds, I can sell them to mom and pop investors or I can sell them to homeowners, which I don’t I always build properties with the tenant in mind. What does that mean? I put above and beyond products in there, granite countertops, waterproof vinyl flooring, LED lights, commercial or professional water heaters, things that make the product withstand better abuse by a tenant and give me less costs. So I built a community in my perspective, and that’s how I really became successful in this is delivering a better product for rent that withstands the abuse of a tenant. And it’s not going to give you a lot of capital expenditure throughout the rental process.

You know, and that’s and that’s true, because every time we build a community, we think about do we go with the five year plan, where we get the cheaper carpet, or do the nine year plan where we spent a lot of money on the wool back carpet and the thick out, you know, 12 centimeter or 12 millimeter LBP. I mean what do we do? But it really comes down to operating cost. I mean, if you build and this is the thing that you guys already know because you know that it’s your cash flow. It’s your NOI, your net operating income, divided by your multiplier, which is your cap rate, which causes you to come up with your purchase price or your sales price, right? So Wagner has to taken that out, he’s really ahead of the game, because instead of building you the cheapest house you can buy, right and he’s got it so that you can see through the flooring. And don’t rub the the you know, don’t wash the walls because the paint will come off, he’s putting on a product there that that stops you from having all those large capex expenditures. Tenant sets a hot pan on the granite countertop, it doesn’t do anything, you don’t have to fix that, what that means is your noi, your net operating income is much higher, which means your exit price is going to be higher, because you don’t have all these little bills. And in thinking from a from a landlord forward position, he’s carved out a niche, another niche, mind you because he’s already carved out several in his lifetime, right. But he’s carved out another niche that makes him extraordinary. But then also puts him in a position where he’s not dealing with cashflow problems to fund projects, because that’s all done on the front side. Because he’s dealing with investors, he’s not dealing with warranty issues, because those are all dealt with because you’ve set up management companies. Wagner, correct me if I’m wrong, but you’ve vertically integrated from the land, through the management, right?

We’re vertically integrated. So I’m a real estate broker as well, I took all my classes, I became a realtor, I became a broker was just recognized the top Central Florida 100 Most Influential People in real estate, I also actually open up a property management company, which helps me manage my personal portfolio, but also my clients and my investors, I also want an insurance company. So by being fully integrated, in verticalized, what we do is we add value, we bring value to the clients, we save money, we maximize cash flow. And of course, by building in scale, and by knowing what product to put where, if we need to have a maintenance issue, I usually have those items in stock. So it’s not going to be a big problem by having 10 different colors of vinyl, right, or different granite countertops or different LED lighting. So by building and volume and scale, I save money, I pass that along the savings. So very important, shouldn’t every house we sell usually below fair market value for the investor. So they’d be below retail.

And you’re doing that because you’re free selling. You’re the broker, you’re the insurance guy, you’re the supplier on a lot of those goods and services and you know, you’ve got an end buyer at the end, so your marketing is less, and you’re passing that on to increase your volume to buy for cheaper, and you’re creating this circular thing, right. If you’re not picking up on this genius of this guy, let me just explain it to you, when you know you have 700 or 800 new real estate clients, or sorry, insurance clients a year 800 new property management clients a year you have the opportunity to go after, you don’t have to market to them, you don’t have to go chase them, they are already in front of you. As long as you can provide value, you’re gonna get the work, you’re gonna get the job, you’re gonna get the insurance contract, you’re gonna get those things. Wagner has taken what would have been one transaction, and made it three and four and five, right? And by doing that, he’s not gonna make $1 on every single transaction, he’s gonna make 75 cents five times. Now, if y’all need to get your calculator for that math, I can’t help you.  That’s genius, right. And so when I talked to my buddy Wagner, this is the thing I love about seeing this guy, not only that bright smiley face, and but the wisdom behind that, that breaks it down and goes, I don’t want to make 100% of every deal. I want to make 80% five times on the same deal and he’s figured out how to do that. I mean, the genius behind that. So anyway, let me get my man crush out of the way here for what you’ve got going on right?

It’s exactly that. By being an investor, I understand what my biggest challenges were. And they really weren’t controlling my costs, right? Because it’s really now how much you make, it’s how much you keep. So if I am able to make money on every vertical or some verticals but add value to my investors, they usually buy more properties. And that means that I’ll make more money the investor makes more money, it’s a win win every step of the way. And you know, I’m here to wonder business, an investor usually buy multiple properties. So here he comes. One piece of advice for you guys, relationship 10 building, remember how to go to to find the right deal. And that’s a key in the success of any real estate investor. Partnerships. I have a VIP list. I’m not gonna lie to you. People that buy from me every year people that actually buy multiple properties at a time with a contract. I usually give them opportunities before they go on the market. Right so at the end of the day relationship is key. In the real estate business, and those real estate, business and relationships have to be local. So make sure you partner up with the right guy, Shannon, you’re awesome. I know you have delivered so many amazing product as well, especially apartment buildings. So, you know, it’s a different animal.

It is but it isn’t, right? Business is business. And, you know, here’s the other thing that you can take away from that VIP statement. Right? There’s people, Wagner, that coming to you and go, but you know, Wagner, I’m gonna buy five of these, and you’re gonna give me a better discount because you like me. The reality is, if you just look at the price and go, Wow, this is a good deal. And I’m getting value and instead of trying to squeeze every single cent out of it, just like Wagner, you come in, you say, Hey, man, I’m gonna buy five of these. And next year, I’m gonna buy five more pretty soon Wagner is calling you go. And you know what? I recognize what you’re doing for my business. And I appreciate that. Let me offer you this. Let me do that. Let me get you to the front of the line. Because you were talking about that 417 lot subdivision that you’re doing in Ocala. I’m going to assume that your VIPs got the first houses listed, correct? Yeah. So they’re going to be they’re going to be the first ones delivered. They were delivered at last year’s price. Now they’re getting tenants this year, they’re going to have appreciation next year. And I’m the guy that tried to clip you for 6%. And I got the last slot on the way out the door and nobody cares, right?

Because this is a relationship business. And let me tell you, I will not provide a discount because our prices are already discounted from the beginning. And if I if I give anybody a discount, I’m doing a disservice to anybody else. So as long as you price a property right at the beginning, you never have to provide a discount, because you’re already gave the discount built into the price. So relationship really matters in this industry. And you actually will get a lot more bees with honey than what you will with vinegar. So

Wagner, what do you do with your subcontractors? Are you using relationship with your subcontractor are you $100 price?

100%. It’s we use relationships, we pay them on a weekly basis, which is very rare in this industry, everybody. Yeah, usually everybody says his man submits the application should get paid on a monthly basis or every 45 days. Every Friday, they get enough money to be happy to feed her family, to have dinner with her family, to have a Corona or to do whatever they want, right? But at the end of the day, they know they can count on us. Most important is this. It’s not only about the money, sometimes we will pay less because we have a relationship. And most important, after we finish every project, we usually provide a party a feast for our employees and our subcontractors at the job site. So we bring in barbecues we bring in jumpers for for the kids. And it’s an honor and a pleasure for me and for my family to serve those workers that worked so hard to provide that product. So having a humble enough relationship with your subs and putting yourself in their level. Because we are all human beings, right? And there’s no difference between being the owner of the company or a provider or a collaborator, we’re all the same. We’re always have different jobs to perform for this for the success of the project. So that adds so much. So pricing is only one of the things that we select, but relationship is definitely it in the real estate, business and construction. If you don’t have strong relationships, you’re not going to get anything built,

You know, and it’s funny you talk about what you can provide for your subcontractor. You don’t hear that very often where people ask, “What can I do to make my subcontractors experience better to work with me?” So now, picture this, you’ve got all you got? You’ve been in the construction business for a while or in any business for a while. And we’ve seen the supply chain issues, right? So we got problems. And all of a sudden you have two guys to work for. Right? You got Wagner who’s going to pay you every Friday, right? He’s going to take care of you that way. Or you’ve got Daddy Warbucks over here, who’s going to pay you every 45 days, who’s gonna get your limited supply of time, money and energy. Wagner’s literally right. So now, if the price is the same, you’re gonna go to Wagner. Heck, you’re probably even going to go to Wagner for a little bit of a discount and work for him for less, not that that’s what he’s asked for. But because you know that Wagner is going to pay you on Friday, which means that you can make payroll, which means that you can buy your supplies at a discount, which means you’re not using your resources, which if you’ve started a business, you know how resource intensive it can be to gear up and man up and pay the payroll and carry everything until you get paid back. In fact, that’s what stops a lot of people from starting a business is that upfront capital, or Wagner has figured out a way to reduce that barrier and create a better experience for the people that work for him. I mean, again, once again, this guy brings value First, and then experiences the results of that. Just amazing to take away.

Oh, no, thank you, Shannon, I think at the end of the day we have to learn how to listen to the people that are around us and understand what they need to perform a better job, right? So you will understand throughout life that money doesn’t mean that much if you get a raise today, maybe in two months already maxed up the additional income that you have produced with a new car, or a new house, or a new credit card bill or a new fancy dinner. So money only goes so far, people are more connected on a relationship basis than anything else. Financial compensations are important. But in this business, or any business relationships are the ultimate goal of any relationship. That’s what, what we do is we don’t sell anything, we just present the numbers, we present the opportunity, and we have sophisticated intelligent investors that make the decision by themselves.

You know, and that’s really another takeaway. My wife’s gonna want me to rewind and listen to that part about listening. But, you know, we’ll keep working on the listening part. The reality is, though, Wagner, I mean, let’s take this all the way back. Let’s unravel this as we come into the final stretch of this, if we look back at it, Wagner, there’s one thing that has been consistent in your life that has gotten you to this place. What is that?

I think it’s your most important thing that you have in life is your core values, who you are, who you are, is more important than anything else. Always do the right thing. And the definition of doing the right thing is doing the same thing when nobody else is looking, right. So believe, be honest, work hard. Take care of people love the people that that is in your family or in your immediate group, take care of the people that don’t have a chance to take care of themselves. And that’s why I got into construction, because I was a supplier. I saw how much nice treated the suppliers were by the builders. And I promised myself as as if I am ever on the other side of the table holding that checkbook, I’m going to make a difference in this industry and I’ve been trying to do that since then. I’ll tell you, I don’t know if I’m depends what success is for you. For me, I think I have a lot of success, because I made a lot of good friends in this industry. So that really means a lot to me.

Yeah, you know, and I Wagner I’ve done good deals with bad people that always go south, I’ve done bad deals that started out that could have been bad with good people, and they’ve always gone well. And I know that when you’re always looking to make sure that you get value, but also the seller or the buyer, whichever side of the transaction you’re on, you’re making sure that they get value to win, both people are looking for a win. That’s created more success stories than somebody that has to scrape it all for themselves and then go find another victim. Right?

And that’s contagious too, Shannon.

You know that probably comes out in your numbers. What do you what would you say, Wagner? And I know you don’t have in front of you. But what would you say of your investors or repeat investors? What percentage?

I would say it’s over 85-90%. 

Yeah, because of the way they were treated, how the product was put together? Look, we all have mistakes, there’s always errors, there’s always a piece of pipe that forgot to get soldered, or, you know, a cabinet drawer that didn’t get screwed on properly. But how you take care of that the way that you follow up with that the way that the customer feels they have the way that the tenant is treated inside the issues all get resolved. But are they resolved at the expense of the owner? Or at the expense of the tenant? Or do they feel like they were mutually treated?

Well, we make mistakes every day. Yeah, we really do as a company, as an individual, but it’s how we fix them. So at the end of the day is to bring peace of mind for investors that are looking for a turnkey solution. But also we’re here to provide a higher quality product for a tenant that wouldn’t have an access to take a bath on a house that is brand new cooked their first meal in a house and it’s brand new. So I feel very proud to be able to provide an opportunity to a regular American family to enjoy when a new property a new construction with high quality is and that makes me happy. And you know, it really motivates me to keep them going.

And you know, guys, I mean,  that’s the takeaway, right? I mean, one of the things that I have seen about the last year and a half is that I’ve really gotten to know Wagner and really gotten to see that this isn’t fake Wagner. This is Wagner all the time. I’ve seen him when he’s happy. I’ve seen him when he sat in fact, we’re seeing him a couple of days after a major surgery. He’s still this upbeat, he’s still like this, and the reality is, I think it goes back to what Wagner said earlier, is the appreciation to have the opportunity. Right? Okay. I think a lot of times as Americans, we lose that appreciation because we’re born with the spoon in our mouth. We were born in this country, we have these inalienable rights given to us every day. All right, we’re not gonna get into political conversation. No, I had shown his appreciation for this country because it’s not his native land. He’s adopted very well, right? I mean, we can always use more handsome people in his country, right? I mean, I’m not it. I’m not. So your daughters, they’re absolutely gorgeous, young women.

I am very blessed to have a beautiful wife that have given me beautiful kids. But I’ll tell you what, you know, I was talking to Brian London, and I was on his podcast, and he asked me exactly the same thing. Why do you love the us so much, I’m like, you want to appreciate what you have until you don’t have it, you won’t appreciate freedom until you don’t have it go to Ukraine right now. And you don’t have freedom, and then you start appreciating. So going through inflation of almost 80% a month. That’s what we lived in Brazil, you know, going through challenges, lack of security, lack of food, lack of clothes, you know, different society levels that are going to be that you know, detrimental to your survival, guys and girls, what I have to tell you this travel outside of the US, and you will realize how much blessed we are here in this country. So I want you to take a chance to thank our military first responders, for everything they do for us. I don’t know if you guys know. But it was my dream to become a cop. And because I semi-retired in 2016, due to real estate, I went to the police academy and became a police officer. So that really means a lot to me. So I want to thank everybody for the hard work. But be conscious about how good you have it here. As far as paying it back, being a forward thinking country is not what it is only because it is the US because of the people that are here.

Yeah. Well, and you know, guys, here’s another thing that Wagner hasn’t told you about himself. Yes, he was an officer. Yes, he’s been top 100 in his community, but he’s also a best selling author. In fact, I’ve had the honor and the pleasure to be in a book with Wagner. Think Big! And we’re in there with guys like Kyle Wilson, and, you know, with Robert Helms and some others, David Kafka, and a lot of really excellent authors. But, you know, this is where you see a guy like Wagner, who is grabbing every ring he can, and and really enjoying life to the fullest. And so, guys, if you want a copy of Wagner’s book, send me an email to connect at Connect at Shannon And say, give me a free book. I’m gonna mail you a copy of the book that Wagner and I were in together Think Big, and it was really an amazing opportunity. But here is a guy that you guys, if you guys are looking for a mentor, if you guys are looking for someone to copy, I would 100% endorse my friend Wagner because he is the American dream. Right?

Thank you. Thank you, Shannon. I mean, I am the honor one here to be on the book with you Kai. Oh, Kevin Eastman, right? NBA champion, I mean, we are so lucky. And this is what I want to choose to motivate. I keep telling my daughters, my daughters, I bought a property for each one of them before we finish, and now they’re managing their own cash flow. So I have a 12 year old and a nine year old and they’re doing on a monthly basis. So I am teaching them how to fish really, really important, but most important, I keep telling them, what are you going to do with the positive cash flow. I keep challenging them every month. And my advice to her is if you spend the money now, you can play now and pay later or you can pay now and play later. So I keep motivating them to how to reinvest your money and to create more wealth and to utilize their assets to actually fund their liabilities. So my you know, if you want a car later on, have your properties financed and make your payments. So this is available guys just to end on a right note. Search it up: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans. This is the only country in the world where you American citizens have subsidized loans for investment properties. And you can leverage them against your know, personal income tax with cost segregation, bonds, appreciation, educate yourself, you’re not going to have to pay any taxes legally if you do this right. And build a wealth of empire for generations to come.

Yeah. So guys, if you want to know more about Wagner, you want to connect with him, send me an email connect at We’ll get you connected with Wagner and all the great information he has, including his bill to rent website and how he has got calculators on there that can help you figure out the strategies for you to start your own bills rent community Well, once again, I want to thank you, Wagner for taking time out of your day to educate my friends here on the real estate rundown and to give of your time in the communities that you do, I just really want to thank you very much. You’re an inspiration to all of us about what America really is and what being an American is.

Shannon, my brother, thank you very much for the opportunity. I would love to serve anybody that is listening here, connect with Shannon if you need anything, and they said, oh four that I can help you with, it’s going to be my pleasure. So take action is what I tell everybody. You know, you can dream about it. But unless you make it into a reality, it’s not gonna go anywhere. So just plan and then execute because you know, only you can do it for yourself. Thank you everybody for listening to me, if you can help you and serve you in any way. That’s what we’re here for.

Awesome. Thanks again for tuning in The Real Estate Rundown. And we’ll talk to you guys next time.

That’s a wrap for today’s episode of The Real Estate Rundown. Let these newfound strategies pave the way to start a successful career or a profound rebranding. If you loved everything you have heard, listen to more conversations at and be sure to leave a rating, share it with your friends and subscribe. Until the next episode.

Important Links:

About Wagner Nolasco:

20+ Years Real Estate Investor, Developer, and Builder.
Lifetime Achievements:
The United States Coast Guard Academy Admissions Partner.
Ambassador, USO of Central Florida.
The United States Coast Guard Aux- National Staff
Chief International Affairs/Outreach DVC-IG.
US Coast Guard Auxiliary – Flotilla Commander 17-11.
Sergeant at arms for the National Coast Guard Riders Association.
Father of 2 beautiful girls.
Lifetime Presidential Award-
Signed by Donald Trump, President of the United States of America.
A police officer for the City of Clermont Florida. Lifetime dream come true.
Amazon Ranked #1 Best Selling Author- “Persistence Pivots and Game Changers”.