Zen and the Art of Real Estate Investing with Jonathan Greene

106: The Value of Starting Without a Backup Plan with Nick Cooley


While most people are comforted by the idea of a backup plan, sometimes, jumping in without one is the best way to take action. Having a parachute can become a hindrance rather than a help. Today’s guest opted to leave the parachute at home when he dove into real estate.

On this episode of Zen and the Art of Real Estate Investing, Nick Cooley sits down with Jonathan to unpack how he and his wife Hannah became real estate investors in 2016. Nick is a licensed real estate agent, investor, and co-founder of Jericho Capital. He is based in the Denver, Colorado area.

Jonathan and Nick explore why it’s important to have your personal finances under control before pursuing real estate investing, the mistakes Nick made with his second property, and why he pursued his real estate license after some initial hesitation. He also explains why he and his wife sold all of their single-family properties to purchase out-of-state commercial assets, Nick’s particular zone of genius, and his refusal to buy in markets where he doesn’t have a competitive advantage. As they wrap up their conversation, Jonathan and Nick discuss his lack of interest in bringing property management in-house, the properties he’s looking for, what you can expect from Jericho Capital as an investor, and Nick’s advice for investors ready to take action.

Nick devoted his free time to learning about real estate investing before diving in headfirst, and he is passionate about helping others figure out their zones of genius to make better investment choices. Nick and Jonathan’s conversation may have you reconsidering your take on getting a real estate license and investing out of state.

In this episode, you will hear:

  • Nick Cooley’s “aha” moment about real estate

  • The two things he and his wife Hannah did to prepare for buying their first investment property

  • His first property and why not having a backup plan was an advantage

  • Why buying a new build made the most sense for Nick long-term

  • The mistakes he made with the purchase of his second property and what he learned

  • When Nick knew this was going to become a full-time career

  • Why he pursued his real estate license despite some hesitation and the benefits of having a license as an investor

  • Nick and his wife’s decision to sell all of their single-family properties in 2021 to pivot into out-of-state commercial properties

  • Nick’s zone of genius, how that balances with his business partner Brian’s understanding of construction, and the launch of their business Jericho Capital

  • His refusal to buy in a market where he doesn’t have a competitive advantage

  • The ease of doing larger deals once you understand the fundamentals of real estate

  • Lack of interest in bringing property management in-house and leaning on third-party property managers to free up his time

  • The types of assets he’s seeking and why

  • How Jericho Capital structures deals and what you can expect as an investor

  • Nick’s advice for new investors who are ready to take action

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