Thu, 8 September 2022
Brenda Mas got her start in multifamily in 2002 working in asset management for a developer/operator/builder. After transitioning to the development side of the business, she oversaw acquisitions, entitlements, subdivision, stabilization, and financing for properties in the LA market. She left the company in 2019 to work independently, venturing into syndications with her husband, a construction expert.
Today, Brenda is the founding and managing partner of VestWell Ventures, a group of multifamily operators and developers focused on value-add strategy. In this episode, she shares why she and her husband are shifting their focus back to development, their strategy for selecting land deals, and the biggest lesson she learned during the market collapse in 2008.
1. Focusing on Development
When it comes to development, Brenda and her husband have a competitive edge. They have access to consultants, structural engineers, and architects, and they know construction inside and out. Plus, the high demand for housing right now combined with current economic uncertainty made the decision to go back to development a no-brainer.
“Demand is there, and we have the know-how,” Brenda says. “Why not bring that to our investors and allow them to make money alongside us?”
2. Strategy for Selecting Land Deals
Brenda and her husband have partnered with an architecture firm to help them determine which deals will work best for them. The size of the land isn’t as important to Brenda as how developers are treated in the town and what regulations are in place.
“Those are things that we really take into consideration,” she says. “Right now our focus is on the Houston market because they have fewer zoning restrictions there, and that expedites our development timeline.”
3. Learning from the 2008 Market Collapse
During the collapse, Brenda and her team had property in downtown Los Angeles under construction. Their construction lender folded, and they were on the brink of losing the buildings. Many developers handed over their keys, but she refused. This led to litigation and a settlement. While they didn’t lose any money in the process, they lost valuable time.
“There are times that you have to walk away,” Brenda says, “and understand what’s going on in the economy. The indicators were there that this was going to happen with the construction lender, and we should have paid attention a little sooner.”
Brenda Mas | Real Estate Background
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