Of course, I didn't know that at first. And in one of our early emails, my fraud meter went off when Dustin Haywood mentioned that he had sold a significant quantity of homes over the past several years. Considering that he would have to be about the same age as Casey Serin (24, give or take) this is a remarkable accomplishment no matter who you are. Unfortunately, in the context of the Casey Serin story, it is also suspect. I had to ask:
Aspeth: When you say that you’ve sold 45 homes, I’m curious as to what exactly that means. Were they homes you sold for someone else? Flippers? FSBO’s? Doesn’t the California Department of Real Estate require that someone who sells over (x?) number of homes in a year be licensed? Are you licensed?
Dustin Haywood: My father is licensed, I am not. I might get a license in the future, but at this point my activities don't require a license. I spend most of my time generating leads, overseeing the work of our independent contractors, handle tech support around the office, monitor escrows, and a variety of other responsibilities that go into running a business of this nature.
Frankly, since I’d already looked for a DRE license for Dustin, I was happy to get a straight answer from him. (Sorry, Dustin. I’ll admit that I wasn’t yet giving you a lot of credit at that point.) In my defense, who knew that it was possible to get a direct and honest answer in Caseyworld?
Going back to Dustin Haywood’s first appearance at “I Am Facing Foreclosure,” he certainly came across as a huge cheerleader. Casey announced that he was going to work at the “Local Rich Dad” office and the crowd went wild. Everyone smelled another get-rich-quick scam or guru action. Dustin came on to explain some things further:
39. Dustin A.K.A. Rich Dad's son
October 22nd, 2006 at 8:50 pm
Hey, I’m the dorky looking guy in the picture in front of the car. Although I have been following this blog since it started to get really interesting about a month or two ago, this is my first comment as I really haven’t had anything to say that hadn’t already been said over and over again by all of the armchair life coaches out there. Now that Casey has moved into our office I think it is appropriate to add some context to Casey’s story and also answer some of the skeptics out there.
Yes, part of the reason why we are helping Casey help himself out of his mess is because we think other people might appreciate the opportunity to get a “hands on” Real Estate investing education from us at some point. As a reader of Casey’s blog you’ll actually be able to see how Casey’s thinking and real estate knowledge evolves over time and hopefully reaches the level of sophistication required to be successful in this business. We’re not going to muck up Casey’s blog with our BS, even if we wanted to Casey has too much integrity to allow us to do such a thing.
Another major motivation behind our alliance with Casey was his IT skill set that we are starting to desperately need to keep up with the times. Casey has agreed to help bring us up to date in this department over time.
Rich Dad or Cheap Dad?
Whatever Casey or you the reader wants to call him, it’s fine by us. My father is happy to help Casey with or without the attention from this blog. I’m sure his idenity will be revealed in time but he’s not quite willing to out himself quite yet.
The Cheap Dad comment isn’t accurate at all; he’s probably the most generous man I know. We didn’t give Casey a job for a reason: We have exactly ZERO employees and we’d like to keep it that way for now. Everyone is on commission or is contracted out as needed. If I can’t pick up a check every two weeks from my dad, Casey can’t either.
I’ll stop here for now. I’d like everyone who feels like they need to give Casey a hard time to lighten up a little about it, maybe even have a sense of humor about, we certainly do. He’s made some serious blunders this year and has gotten himself in more trouble then most of us will ever face, what kind of person would think it is appropriate to kick a man when he’s down?
Anyway, this blog will continue to be Casey’s creation, not mine. If I have anything to say I’m happy to do it here like everyone else. I think you’ll enjoy the content a whole lot more now that we’re in the picture. I honestly hope everything works out for the best, try to remember: The future has yet to be written, anything could happen at this point and your guess is as good as mine, but if you want my opinion I think this is shaping up to be a great come back story already.
Now before everyone freaks out, please remember that this was in October of last year. Casey Serin had yet to demonstrate a lot of his more unlikable qualities. He hadn’t yet been foreclosed upon multiple times, and he certainly hadn’t fled the country, leaving his wife to answer creditors’ phone calls. I truly believe that Dustin Haywood and his father were (and still are) sincere in wanting to help Casey Serin get back on track.
Aspeth: You and Casey Serin are approximately the same age, yet you have sold 45 homes while he has lost six houses to foreclosure. How did you and Casey approach the same industry with such drastically different results? I ask because that creates such a glaring contrast between the two of you, and puts you in a unique position to talk about the path that you observed him traveling.
Dustin Haywood: Well, when I met Casey in 9th grade, my father was essentially "set for life" financially. He knew the story of my father's success and I'm sure admired the freedom he had. Casey was a pretty sharp guy in high school, he got good grades, graduated a semester early, and as far as I can recall, kept his nose clean. He was able to teach himself a variety of computer and internet skill sets during this time and found decent paying IT work easily right out of high school. At one point, he even helped me get one of my first jobs at a Geek Squad type company that never made it off the ground.
As far as how the two of us approached the industry. I'll start with myself because I got into the business quite a few years before he did. Growing up I never intended to work for my father, I didn't even think it was even an option. In fact, when I graduated high school and started college, he was not actively investing in real estate.
During the year or two I attended college he attempted to start up some of his real estate investing techniques, but those efforts never led anywhere, as he tells it, he just didn't have the same drive to put in all the effort required to get the operation off the ground. Later that year, I was getting tired of college and was anxious to get my career started.
Without knowing if we would have any success, I offered to help my father with all of the tedious aspects of real estate investing in exchange for a percentage of any profit we made, and to my surprise he took me up on my offer. It took nearly 6 months to find our first "deal", meaning your typical fix n flip. Most of our buying and selling activity was between the summer of 2002 and early 2006. We saw the crash coming and got out when we could. We're currently in "buy and hold" mode and probably will be for quite some time. We see some great buying opportunities on the horizon.
In contrast, Casey decided to go it alone. He didn't have a mentor to teach him so he went to a lot of seminars and bought a lot of crap from gurus I explicitly warned him against. He even called me one time while he was attending a seminar to see if he could borrow $50,000 from me for some advanced seminar they were offering for some limited time of course. For the record, I told him no.
The biggest problem he had was that he was literally buying all of his "deals" at the top of the market. His second biggest problem, regardless of what the market was doing, was that he was overpaying, they were at best marginal "deals". He of course went on to make all of the other typical mistakes new investors tend to make, i.e. buying out of state, overpaying contractors, buying too many at once, etc...
Dustin mentioned in an early email to me that “Whatever you have said about Casey, I've said far worse to Casey's face.” I remembered a comment that Dustin left Casey at IAFF. I considered his remarks in November of 2006, and thought it important to include:
101. Rich Dad's Son
November 27th, 2006 at 3:49 pm
Come on Casey; If you’re turning to crap like “The Secret” for answers, you are barking up the wrong tree… again. There is no secret, no magic bullet, and no magic genie that will lead you to happiness and success.
You should be beyond the the Tony Robbins positive thinking stuff by now. (Besides, I think all that positive thinking might have hurt you more than it helped, but that’s just my take) Time to hunker down and do some real personal development. Check out “The Teaching Company” (teach12.com) - Maybe start with some of their economics lectures and go from there. (Science, Philosophy, History etc…)
Good luck, keep fighting, it’s not over yet!
Coming from anyone else, that would quickly be dubbed Haterz talk. So I wanted to ask Dustin what he thought of the term.
Aspeth: On a lighter note.... Casey has called his critics "haterz." The haterz have then called Casey's circle "supporterz" and "cheerleaderz." Do you think either of these labels apply to you?
Dustin Haywood: Funny, you mentioned this. I was probably the original "hater" in the sense that I was highly critical of the path he was taking during the early days of his real estate career. One night he called me asking for $50,000 dollars to purchase some "advanced" real estate seminar. You can imagine my reaction!
As for the actual term "hater" I may have been the one to use that phrase first during a early conversation regarding the comments section. I can't be sure, and it doesn't even really matter, but I've enjoyed using common slang around Casey because he originally spoke English as a second language and is quick to use and misuse his newly expanded vocabulary.
Am I still a Hater today? Probably so, but I still can't help but root for the underdog.
There’s more to this story, but this is already a long post, and there are still some holes that need to be plugged before I can continue. I appreciate your patience while I wait for Dustin’s response, and just want to remind everyone that he’s a successful entrepreneur who’s working his tail off. He hasn't gone all "pro blogger" on us, so he's not necessarily able to answer questions straight away.