The Big Long: How Going Big on an Outrageous Idea Transformed the Real Estate Industry

Colin Wiel and Doug Brien

Publisher: Amplify Publishing Pages: 208 Price: (hardcover) $24.95 ISBN: 9781643075525 Reviewed: January, 2022

In The Big Long, former NFL player Doug Brien and e-commerce infrastructure expert Colin Wiel discuss their real estate ventures, with hopes of inspiring readers to be equally bold in their property investments.

The authors met at a Bay Area angel investor forum in 2008. Ambitious and aggressive, the two had a meeting of the minds and founded Waypoint Homes, a property management and real estate investment firm, and later Mynd, a property management technology company. They both wanted to make big profits while serving people; rather than “big short thinking,” they promote the “big long,” meaning buying assets with the assumption that they will gain value over time.

Focusing on single-family rentals (SFRs), they bought up many properties in the East Bay, working-class neighborhoods along the BART mass-transit system. When crunching the numbers, they realized they were growing so fast they needed to find ways to scale up their systems and processes to accommodate a higher-volume business. And scale they did; the two are well-matched as entrepreneurs because they always think big (find ways to buy 4,000 homes, not 4) and take a “hyperaggressive, throw-caution-to-the-wind approach.”

Would-be real estate investors will learn much here in terms of developing a risk-tolerant, entrepreneurial mindset, identifying and pursuing opportunities others don’t see, learning how to charge ahead despite qualms, etc. The authors offer little in the way of practical advice, instead recounting the stories of their partnership and the triumphs and travails of go-big-or-go-home real estate investing; fundraising during a pandemic; an FBI investigation spurred by a former employee’s illegal activity, and successful creative financing to make deals go through.

This recounting of their energetic, ambitious plans is well served by their humble tone and encouraging, inclusive message: that creating wealth through real estate investing shouldn’t just be available to the already-wealthy or a privileged few, but to everyone. It will be well-received by readers looking for an inspirational story of property wheeling and dealing.

Highly recommended for fans of Brandon Turner, David Greene, Scott Trench

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