“Sometimes you realize, this isn’t necessarily where you want to end up, but it’s going to help you get there.”

-Anthony Vicino

Anthony is a best selling author, real estate investor and serial entrepreneur committed to helping people maximize their return on life. He’s the CO founding partner of Invictus capital, a multifamily acquisition firm based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with 15 million in assets under management that provides busy working professionals with the opportunity to invest better, as the host of the Multifamily investing Made Simple podcast and author of passive investing Made Simple, Anthony firmly believes investing shouldn’t be complicated, scary, or overwhelming. 

In this episode, Trevor and Anthony discuss:

  •  Anthony’s background, what attracted him to invest in real estate and how he got started.
  •  Using Triplex to start investing in real estate and how it works.
  •  Scaling from triplex to bigger units.
  •  How to grow your network and how to present opportunities to potential investors.
  •  Being in line with SEC expectations and law when raising capitals.
  •  The importance of education when starting a real estate business.

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Best Ever Apartment Syndication Book | Raising Capital for Real Estate

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Email us: Trevor@podcastingyou.com

Full Transcription Of Today’s Episode

Trevor Oldham  00:45

Hey, everybody, welcome back to the real estate investing exposure podcast and today on the show, we have Anthony Vicino. Anthony is a best selling author, real estate investor and serial entrepreneur committed to helping people maximize their return on life. He’s the CO founding partner of Invictus capital, a multifamily acquisition firm based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with 15 million in assets under management that provides busy working professionals with the opportunity to invest better, as the host of the multifamily investing Made Simple podcast and author of passive investing Made Simple, Anthony firmly believes investing shouldn’t be complicated, scary, or overwhelming. Anthony, super excited to have you on the show today.

 

Anthony Vicino  01:26

Yeah, thanks for having me, Trevor. I appreciate it.

 

Trevor Oldham  01:29

Most certainly, and, and Anthony, for our audience that’s listening to yourself for the first time. And maybe they’re just learning a little bit about yourself, do you mind just diving into your background? And especially what attracted you to real estate? And sort of, you know, how did you get started into the business?

 

Anthony Vicino  01:43

Yeah, so my path, we got to go back to college, because everybody comes out of college thinking that they’re going to go into some professional career, some corporate environment, that was never going to work for me, I have severe ADHD. And so I was really, really bad when it comes to working for other people. I was getting fired all the time. And so that wasn’t going to be a viable long term track. So I started looking at what I could do, that would allow me to maximize my time, freedom and work for myself. And that led me down some really interesting roads, I was a professional rock climber for a little bit. And then I started writing science fiction and fantasy novels. And those were all great. But my life didn’t really start on its current trajectory until a buddy came to me one day and said, Hey, do you want to build a business together? And I was like, I know nothing about that. But yeah, let’s give it a shot. Let’s give it a crack. And that really was the defining moment for what my life has become. And I discovered that I had some unique skills that allowed me to excel when it came to entrepreneurship and building businesses, specifically, because for me with ADHD, to even be like, functional to be a functional adult in society, I had to create some really interesting systems and routines around my life that would allow me to control my flighty attention and be able to even just, you know, be functional. And so those same things that applied to my life, were actually very suited towards building businesses as well. And so real estate came into my onto my radar at multiple points, actually. But it wasn’t until the third try, like the universe kept trying to put it in front of me, and I kept not biting at it in college. My roommate and his dad were fixing and flipping houses. I was helping them with that. And all I learned from that experience is that I can swing a hammer, but I can’t hit a nail. I absolutely hate construction. And so for the next eight years, I was like, nope, Real Estate’s not for me, because that was the only experience that I had with it at that point. And then, eight years later, a buddy comes to me, and he says, Hey, I’m buying these quads. Do you want to do that together? And I was like, at that point, I was deep into building businesses. I was like, that doesn’t sound interesting. No, thank you. But I’ll give you some money. So I passively invested with them. So he went and did that and generated some good returns. But it wasn’t until maybe 2016 or 2017. That the real estate bug finally bit that the universe put in front of me one last time, and I finally like got the hint. And the defining moment, I don’t really remember what it was. But what I tell people was one day I was driving into downtown Minneapolis looking at the skyline and was hit with the question, what’s it take to buy a skyscraper? Like? Who owns these things? And I have no interest in actually owning a skyscraper. But trying to answer that question led me down the rabbit hole of multifamily investing and looking around me at all these apartment buildings and starting to figure out who actually owns these things. And what I discovered was, it’s a lot of people, just like you and me, that is very accessible. But we’re not taught about that in school. And a lot of people, when they think about real estate, they think about all the things that I experienced earlier in my career, which was fixing flips, I’m like, I don’t want to do that. And what I discovered through all the education process was like, Okay, this is a success, not only accessible, but it’s simple. Once you understand how the pieces go together, it’s like Legos. They only connect in so many different ways, but you can build anything with it. They have the Lego Death Star, and they have Lego tractors like you can make anything out of Legos. And that’s the same thing with real estate. And that’s what really got me interested in it. So I started my active investing career with a triplex, I did an FHA loan, got into their house and hacked that bad boy. And with nine month that had massive appreciation, we did a cash out refinance, poured that into the next asset. And we’ve just been doing that over and over and over except for scaling larger each time because the triplex was great. We can talk about why it was great, but there were also some real trouble points with it. We could talk about why that was too. But it led me to scaling into larger multifamily assets. And that’s what we do now. We buy multifamily assets up here in the Twin Cities, and we partner with passive investors. And our unique thing is that we’re vertically integrated. So we’re control freaks, we don’t want to outsource anything to third party managers, we want to be responsible for what we hire in house, we have our team in house so that we can serve our residents and our investors to the best of our ability. So that’s like the really long convoluted answer about how I got to where I am.

 

Trevor Oldham  06:00

I know that that’s an excellent overview. And I’d love to hop back into that. triplexes I was interviewing another investor today out of New York City and, and he’s a firefighter and he had started out with a triplex himself out in New York. And then now he has scaled, I think he’s up to 560 units. And yeah, which is, which I thought was excellent. And he started, you know, again, hey, it started out as a triplex. And I would love for you to go back to you know, when you first started out with that triplex to say, going out there and then buying, you know, larger unit complexes,

 

Anthony Vicino  06:31

so the triplex you know, for me, it’s always about having these big ambitious goals, but then working backwards towards where you are right now. And like, what’s the next simplest step that I could take that would put me on that path, and a lot of people think I want to have a billion dollars of assets under management. So they think I need to go buy 200 units right away. It’s like no start, start where you’re at, figure out the systems, the processes, and learn on your own dime before you ever start taking other people’s money. I think that’s really important when it comes to syndicating.You have to have a track record and experience and you don’t really gain that experience until it’s your money on the line. And so I always knew where I wanted to go long term. But to get there the triplex was the springing springboard. And what that allowed me to do was get in there and work with the tenants and understand how to do that, how to work with the city, like how to operate these tiny little businesses, because that’s what a triplex really is. It’s just a little business. Now, I recommend that as a starting point for people that want again, they don’t have a ton of money, they want to learn the systems. You know, starting with small multi families can be great. But there were issues with that as well. Because in nine months, that asset appreciated by $125,000. So I went and got it reappraised. And I paid 246. For it came back 375. And that sounds like a really cool thing. Like, all right, $125,000.09 months later, that’s fantastic. But it just drove home the point to me that I had no control over that, because that was based off of the valuations for a small multifamily, which is off of comparables. So it just happened to be that all the other houses in that neighborhood were selling for a lot of money. It wasn’t that I went in there and I ran the asset really well. It wasn’t that I made improvements. It wasn’t merit based on that appreciation. And it could have just as easily gone the other direction. And I could have lost $125,000. And I would have been just as out of control. And so I was like I don’t want to be able to know what my buildings are worth based off of the value that I add to our operational efficiencies. And so that’s why we made the move to larger multifamily where now the valuations are based off of your noi divided by the cap rate, and the noi is dictated by your revenue minus your expenses. And those are two levers that you can control. And so that was the impetus to move into larger stuff. But when I was first starting out, I couldn’t afford, you know, a $2,000,000.15 20 unit apartment complex. So you have to start where you’re at. Sometimes you realize, you know, this isn’t necessarily where you want to end up, but it’s going to help get you there.

 

Trevor Oldham  09:03

Yeah, I think that’s and that’s an excellent overview of someone that’s, you know, someone who may be just be starting out and you know, may not have that, as you mentioned the money but they may have, you know, 10 20,000 to put down on an FHA loan that you don’t say 5% down and and I want to get into that now you’re you have the triplex now you’re going into these bigger units, which I could imagine pyre and require some capital raise, and when you’re going out there, and doing that, I knew when I was reading your bio mentioned busy working professionals, how are you networking with those individuals? How are you getting these opportunities in front of them to eventually, you know, invest that capital with yourself?

 

Anthony Vicino  09:39

That’s a great question. And it’s like the chicken in the egg type of scenario. It’s you for every deal needs three things. It needs somebody who has the experience, somebody who has the time and somebody who has the money. But in those early days you didn’t know any of those people and you lacked all three, maybe you have all the time in the world, but you lack the other two and you’re like what do i do and so for me Look, what I did was started with the money that I did have. And then I rolled that into the next asset. And after doing that a couple of times, family and friends started to take notice and like, Hey, what are you doing over there? Can we get in on that. And so we started doing joint ventures with family and friends money next. And we did about 10 deals before ever starting to open our door to pure passive investors in a syndication model. So we had a healthy track record. And a lot of people asking to get into our deals at that point, just through the word of mouth first ring referrals. So by the time we got to raising capital, you know, we had the track record, we had a little bit of the network, but then we’re like, Okay, if we really want to do this syndication thing, right, you know, we need to be able to match our deal flow with our capital flow, if we have too much of one or the other, it’s not going to fire on all cylinders. So we need to match those up well, and we had a good deal flow. So we needed to figure out how to get equivalent capital flow. And our approach has always been to lead with education. And we really hate the idea of selling people on real estate. I have no interest in selling or convincing or trying to persuade anybody to invest in real estate, I just want to put out the information in a way that’s entertaining and educational. So it’s like a mix of the two. So it’s entertaining, and let you come to your own opinion on it. And for most people, the lightbulb goes off as they’re educating themselves on multifamily assets, and specifically passive investing. And they go, Oh, this is really cool. I want to get involved, and then they come back, and they want to invest with us a lot of times, because, you know, when you’re the mentor, or the teacher, people go, I trust that person, they taught me, well, I want to work with them. But in a lot of cases, people come back and they’re like, we love what you’re doing. But we’re not interested in where you’re doing it, we want to look in these markets. And we’re like, cool, let us connect you with some operators down in those markets. And so for us, it’s not really about the getting investors into our network, as much as it is just increasing the number of people who realize multifamily assets are available to them, because it is a superior investment vehicle, I’ll fight anybody to the depth that wants to go toe to toe on that one. It’s the, it’s the best investment vehicle that there is out there that most people just aren’t aware it’s accessible. And when they think that, like maybe they could get into it still feels daunting and overwhelming. So our one goal is to try to eliminate as many of those barriers to make people go, I can do this and feel confident taking action.

 

Trevor Oldham  12:29

And as you’re raising this capital, I just had to come up on a call a couple of weeks ago when I was talking to the individual, and I was asking him, the different types of people that have been investing with him. And, and I thought, you know, when it comes to my mind, you know, doctors, lawyers, Ventus people that are gonna be high paid professionals. And he happened to mention that doctors were the people he didn’t want investing with. He mentioned that they were the worst investors with them. And you know, I talked to a lot of investors, and I haven’t heard that before. So I’m just curious to see when people are investing in your deals, do they have similar backgrounds? Is there a certain, you know, demographic or working professional that, you know, typically, you wouldn’t want to take money from?

 

Anthony Vicino  13:07

Hmm, I mean, there is always the question of who don’t you want to take money from, I don’t want to put any profession into that. That grouping, I think it’s more of an individual level thing. I think doctors and lawyers are always interesting one lawyers, because they are lawyers, and you’re like, everybody’s going to be litigious. So it’d be a lawyer, but generally, they’re not so bad to work with, they understand what to look for, and they’re well informed. And that’s really what it comes down to is like, we want to work with people who understand the business model, that they’re not investing their life, their life savings, the last 5000 $10,000 like they can afford to lose it and understand that investing is inherently risky. You know, a lot of the people that we work with are, we were, we’re auditing our investor pool, and a large number of them fall into either a sales group specifically like medical sales, that’s like a really, I would say, a high paying job where people, their their efforts are really tied to their or their income is tied to their efforts. And they want to be able to subsidize that because they have a little bit of golden handcuffs, in a similar way that doctors and lawyers do. And then the other group that we serve a lot is the entrepreneurs and small business owners, people who, you know, you hear all the time, your best investment, if you’re a business owner, is back into your own business. But you do need to diversify, because your market, your industry, it’s vulnerable. And so you want to diversify into other assets that can be generating cash flow and tax advantages. And so we work a lot with small business owners, and that kind of sales group that seems to be the majority of our investors.

 

Trevor Oldham  14:32

Yeah, I think that’s perfect. I think that that dispels the myth maybe I don’t know what happened to this sensor, an investor because I’ve talked to you know, hundreds of them at this point, and he just happened to be the only person that I’ve ever mentioned, a doctors were not the best workers maybe was more of an outlier. situation for him. Maybe you had a bad one, maybe had one.

 

Anthony Vicino  14:51

One or two bad ones. Yeah, you could. You could imagine like a doctor maybe being a little bit more hands on. They want to be a little bit more controlling and conversational but honestly, like we’ve had really, we’ve had a number of doctors in our deals and they’re, they’re fantastic to work with, I won’t I won’t throw them under the bus?

 

Trevor Oldham  15:07

Most certainly, if you’re a doctor out there, you want to invest with them. Exactly. But I want to hop into, you know, the multifamily properties that are looking to be put under Are they a class, you know, Class C, Class B, is there a certain, you know, area in Minneapolis that you look at? Is there a certain amount of units that you’re looking at when you’re, you know, going out and prospecting for these properties?

 

Anthony Vicino  15:29

Yeah, so we’ve specialized in that class C Class B value add model. And so that’s where we start. Now, at the beginning of 2020, we were focusing on heavier value, add deals, things that had a little bit more meat on the bone need a little bit more renovation, more capex, but then when, you know, COVID occurred, the world went to shut down, things started becoming a little bit more frothy, a little bit questionable. And so we didn’t want our business model to be predicated on having to go in and deploy large amounts of capex. And so we made a pivot in the second part of 2020, towards more stabilized assets that still had meat on the bones. But our focus became on finding deals where there was already an in place Delta, between what we were purchasing in that and what the market rate was. And also, there was a delta between in place rents and market rent, that was not tied to having to go and do really big renovations. And so that’s kind of a unicorn deal. everybody’s like, that sounds great. Yeah, you just go in there. It’s a mismanaged operation. But the units are in pretty good shape, like, sign me up. But the problem is finding those deals is very tricky. And so that becomes a relationship game, and really understanding who the potential sellers are in the market, and then being in front of them so that you’re the first person that they call. So that’s what we focus on. When we talk to people, we’re always trying to acquire things between 20 and 150 units. But we’re also the type of guys that we’re dealing gnostic in the sense that no deal is too small to look at. If the numbers make sense, they make sense. And so we do a lot of I would say, joint ventures with potential investors that have 1031 money. And they’re like, Oh, we have, you know, $400,000 that we want to put into something. And we’ll you know, for us in our market that might be perfect for like a 10 unit. And so there’s nothing that’s too small, as long as it’s still in that commercial environment for us. And then in terms of like the Twin Cities, here’s the thing is, in all large metros, there are areas that you want to be in, and there are areas that you don’t want to be in. And our unique advantage is that this is our backyard. And we know all those neighborhoods, and we know which ones to avoid, which ones to play in, which ones are on the up and which ones are on the down. And that gives us a very strong forecast for what to expect in the future. And so we look in very particular neighborhoods, and we avoid others, also very particularly.

 

Trevor Oldham  17:44

That’s definitely an excellent point. I think, you know, I think what’s really cool when talking to you is that you focus, you know, where you’re from, you know, in Minneapolis, a lot of times you hear investors that they’re talking, you know, they’re they have these properties that they’re looking at that, you know, say they’re from the other syndicating a deal in California, out in Texas, maybe other parts of the south where, you know, it’s nice having someone like yourself where you are in that area, and just something else that comes to mind that I thought was interesting. I was talking to a person a little while ago, and he was in the Marine Corps. And he was putting together syndication deals, and he had a lot of police officers that were part of his team. And he actually mentioned that when he goes into places that he may not be a little unfamiliar with. He connects with the local police, he assembled from his team connected with the local police officer and asked him about the area. And I just thought that it was better to learn what the good and bad areas are. They’re not talking to the local police. I thought that was a little interesting.

 

Anthony Vicino  18:39

Yeah, that’s exactly right. And you know, if you’re in San Francisco, you’re in New York, and you want to get involved in investing, well, maybe your backyard isn’t the best market, it’s not feasible. So maybe you do have to look remotely, but we’re fortunate that we live in a great market, Minneapolis is one of the top ranked cities for a lot of reasons. And so it’s strong for us. But it wouldn’t necessarily make a lot of sense if you were in one of those other markets that it’s just harder to get into and make the numbers work. And the other side too, is like having been a local investor. Now, I can’t imagine investing remotely, I imagine it would just be so much more stressful because cities are big places. And the difference between one neighborhood and another neighborhood might only be two blocks. But those two blocks can make all the difference and not knowing the local interplay and politics. Can I think he can really bite you in the butt? So that’s not to say that you can’t succeed and excel by investing remotely. It’s just a little bit harder.

 

Trevor Oldham  19:38

I think that’s definitely an excellent point. And I want to hop back to now that you’re starting to syndicate deals, you know, going back to the beginning of your story and you have this triplex you realize you want to scale a little bit faster, you know, find more, you know, more units per apartment complexes and now you’re starting to at the point where you’re looking to raise capital and say that someone in the audience is listening in there at that same point, they have deals under their belt, they want to, you know, start to raise money go after the bigger, you know, say apartment complexes, and whatnot, and going through that process. What was it? Like? Did you you know, I know a lot of times I’m talking with investors, you know, there’s certain things that have to do with the SEC to make sure everything that is okay and, and buttoned down and you aren’t just walking our audience through that whole process was like when you started to go out there and attract and raise investor capital.

 

Anthony Vicino  20:26

Yeah, if you want to raise passive money, then you need to be really certain you know what you’re doing to make sure that you’re in line with sec expectations and law and laws, because the too many operators in this space, they they hop in thinking that ignorance is a shield, and it’s not, you, you don’t you don’t get to stand in front of the SEC, or in front of a court. If you’re ever sued for whatever reason, and feign ignorance like that, that doesn’t get you anywhere, you don’t get any points for not knowing the answer or knowing that you didn’t, that you did something wrong. So you need to make sure that you’re you’re tight on that there’s a lot of resources out there, there’s no excuse not to brush up on that to surround yourself with really good lawyers, and specifically sec attorneys that specialize in this, because you’re raising a lot of money, this is not the place to be cutting corners, because you’re like, Ah, you know, a book is 50 bucks. And that course is 2000 bucks. And these attorneys 15,000 like, if those numbers, you know, put you off, then you’re not ready. Because this is not something that you just listen to, people don’t just think about the money that they give you. Instead, for every dollar that somebody gives you, think about the time of their life that went into them earning that they exchanged this thing that they will never get back. And that’s a piece of their life that they’ll never get to spend with their family or their kids or their dog or doing the things that they love, they did something that earned them that money. And so instead of looking at that dollar and saying that’s $1 Look at that, and say that’s a piece of somebody’s life that they’re giving you. And if you can’t take that little piece of their life and know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you can do right by it. Now, that’s not to say that you’re guaranteeing a return, or you know, like all sorts of things happen in this universe. But if you can’t look at that, and say that I’m ready and prepared, I’ve done everything that I can to do right by this, then you’re not ready. And so make sure that you understand all the rules surrounding this. There’s really good books. I think Kim Lissa Taylor has raised private capital. That’s a great book. Hunter Thompson has a great book on raising capital for real estate, these are good places to start. But at the end of the day, you need to have a talk with an SEC attorney, as you’re going through the drafting phase to make sure that everything is buttoned up, all the T’s are crossed, all the i’s are dotted because it’s a really this this isn’t something to take lightly. You know, and I think there are far too many people in this space. They get into it thinking syndication is sexy and easy. And it’s like better, better. Better go careful, man. Because you can get burned real quick.

 

Trevor Oldham  22:59

That most certainly I remember I was talking to a guy not too, not too long ago, and he was raising investor capital. I think he had guaranteed returns, which never is probably never going to be a good situation. So when the investor, yeah, when he could not return the make the returns. And he had raised I forgot, I think was maybe 20 million. And you know, basically what ended up happening is he ended up getting sentenced to 10 years in federal prison. So when I heard that I was like, yeah, if I ever go out there and try to, I’m not currently raising money, but if I ever do, I want to make sure that a button down so I don’t have to encounter that. So that’s why I wanted to ask you that.

 

Anthony Vicino  23:35

You gotta be so careful about what you do, what you can say and what you can’t say and who you can and can’t say it to. Like there’s so many nuances to it. And it isn’t brave. This isn’t rocket science. This isn’t brain surgery, like anybody that can walk and chew bubblegum is probably capable of understanding this stuff. But the problem is, nobody’s going to come to your house and say let’s sit down for your lesson. I’m going to teach you now. Like you have to take it on yourself to make sure that you’re out there learning everything that you can. And to that end. You know, there’s really for us when we did our very first syndication we had already done a number of deals, but we didn’t know what we didn’t know and I think if you know that can get you into a lot of trouble. And so what we did is we went in we joined an educational group with Jake and Gino specifically so that we would have somebody who had experience with syndications, looking over our shoulder for that very first deal to say make sure that we don’t step out of line here and it was well worth the money just for that one aspect of like hey, are we about to screw the pooch on this one cuz like that’s a no go then

 

Trevor Oldham  24:32

It’s funny that you mentioned Jake and Gina, the firefighter from USC that I had mentioned. He actually took his mentoring program and that’s how he was able to get into that. That’s how he’s able to scale so quickly within a short amount within I think it was a two or three year period. That’s definitely I definitely recommend that if you’re hearing from him and it also yourself that they’re definitely a good education. I know that they’ve been around for quite a while and they produce phenomenal content.

 

Anthony Vicino  24:55

Yeah. And full disclosure, I’m a coach for Jake and Gino now, so I Little biased, but I, you know, they’re a great group. And I think, depending on where you are in your education, it’s great for a lot of different reasons. One, it’s the education component two, it’s the accountability component, and then three, it’s the network. And if you’re depending on where you’re coming from, and what industry like when I first got into real estate, I was a rock climber and I had been building a window washing company and a manufacturing company. I didn’t know anybody in real estate. And so joining a group like that can help accelerate that puts you around a lot of people who have similar goals who are going towards the same target at the same speed and, and that can be invaluable in and of itself.

 

Trevor Oldham  25:35

Most certainly, but, Anthony, I want to be respectful of your time. today. I just have a couple of quick questions that I want to ask you before we end the show today. Hit me with them in what do you happen to have a favorite real estate investing or business book that you’d recommend for our audience check out

 

Anthony Vicino  25:50

and you know, on the topic that we’re discussing here, if you want to brush up on you being an active syndicator the best ever apartment syndication book by Joe fairless is one of the better ones if you want to be a capital raiser then raising capital. I think it’s called raising capital for real estate by Hunter Thompson is definitively the best one out there right now.

 

Trevor Oldham  26:08

Awesome. Make sure I’ll make sure to include those in the show notes. And the last question I have for you today is where can our audience find you?

 

Anthony Vicino  26:15

So you can find me at Invictus multifamily calm. If you’re interested in learning more about multifamily investing and what we do we have a weekly podcast called multifamily investing Made Simple. And in August, we have a book coming out in conjunction with Jake and Gino called passive investing Made Simple. And that’s really designed for people interested in passive investing. They don’t want to do what we do on the active side, they want to know what to look out for, how to find good deals, how to find good operators, and there’s not a ton of resources out there on that particular topic. There’s one or two other good books in the area. And so we just wanted to be able to add our voice to that conversation. And so that’s coming out in August. And otherwise, you can find me anywhere on social media. I’m on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, I’m Anthony Vicino. So just Google me and we’ll, they’ll track me down.

 

Trevor Oldham  27:00

Perfect. I’ll make sure to include that in the show notes as well. And Anthony, I just wanted to say thank you for the conversation. And again, thanks for coming onto the show.

 

Anthony Vicino  27:07

Yeah, I appreciate you having me, man.