Ballard native claims stake in real estate investing

To give talk at North Seattle College

While attending Ballard High School, John McCants never thought that paying attention in math class would one day help him succeed in real estate investment, but he found out knowing the numbers is the foundation to making good real estate decisions.

McCants was born in a Ballard and grew up at Olympic Manor. When he was young he delivered the Ballard News-Tribune in the Loyal Heights and North Beach area. He worked for his father’s independent insurance company and eventually saw the office close. Then McCants found himself in real estate.

“Growing up in an entrepreneurial family, I noticed a difference in people who owned small apartment buildings and commercial properties. It’s just a different mindset. They run their own business, and I saw that is what was paying them. And then my high school buddies did the same thing and became contractors or property owners. That caught my interest – having property working for them instead of punching a clock,” said McCants

Now, McCants is a Phoenix-based real estate investor with Renatus and has built a respectable portfolio and track record so much so that he has been asked to be a guest speaker at a foreclosure workshop at North Seattle College on July 9. The event is sponsored by RISE (Real Estate Investing Success thru Education), a local investing community that promotes education and mentoring to its members. McCants will be discussing his experience in fixing and flipping homes, buy-and-holds, lease options, creating quick cash and cash flow, as well as other types of real estate investments.

The crux of McCants’ advice centers on knowing basic math and McCants said that though he’s all to keen on knowing how to read the numbers, failing algebra tests while at BHS was more than a common denominator. Still, after graduating with 2.9 GPA, McCants retained the basic skills when coupled with experiences and networking, burgeoned into him making hundreds of real estate transactions.

"It's a simple skill that frequently is underestimated. … Basic math allows real estate investors to use those numbers and apply them to an instructional formula in order to assess risk. Either they work for the deal or they don't. The numbers are designed to take emotion completely out of the evaluation. Simple math skills with hard-nosed discipline can make ordinary people into successful real estate investors."

Through the many different deals McCants has made, he’s come up with a theory of action that leads to success or what he calls being a “transaction engineer.”

“Successful real estate investors over time and with experience are eventually turned into transactional engineers. … I've met quite a few people who've been beaten up by real estate investing because they ignored what the numbers were telling them. They also didn't follow the rules, discipline, or the process required to be successful.

McCants said that being an engineer is a matter of three things: Creating a well-connected network, especially those who are looking to invest, devoting the time to learn and hone your knowledge of real estate and then applying time and knowledge to connecting the right people with the right transactions.
McCants went on to say that once one has decided to make a move in real estate investing, the first place one should go is the courthouse during a foreclosure auction. If one is looking to break into the market, “All the people you want to connect with will be there.”

“I want to encourage people because there is a reason why they're at these lectures: it’s because they are interested in real estate. Come out and participate and see if it’s something you want to do, and learn about it so you don't have to learn on the street because one bad deal can hurt you.”

To hear more from McCants reserve a seat at his lecture by visiting

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