Best Real Estate Investing Advice Ever

Dr. Pranay Parikh is a medical doctor who began investing in real estate to grow his income. He bought a four-unit multifamily property but soon realized his time would be better spent focusing on his full-time career and investing 100% passively. He decided to help other doctors, dentists, and healthcare professionals do the same. 

Today, Pranay is the president of Ascent Equity Group, which helps individuals build wealth through low-risk, high-growth multifamily investments in strong markets throughout the U.S. with a focus on healthcare professionals. He owns $200M in CRE, 1,200 units, and four properties as a JV, and is also an LP of over $1B in investments. In this episode, he shares why he believes in managing the manager, his criteria for vetting sponsors and deals, and how he gains leverage with operators. 

 

1. Managing the Manager

Ever the actively passive real estate investor, Pranay has weekly phone calls with property management. “Anytime there’s more than $1,000 spent, we want to know why,” Pranay says. “And we always compare that to pro forma.” He tasks himself with maximizing the profit for his investors by ensuring that the sponsor or operator is sticking to the plan.

 

3. Vetting Sponsors and Deals

When vetting a sponsor, Pranay looks at their track record first. He prefers sponsors who have been through a recession and who have been working together for at least five years. He likes to meet them face to face and walk the properties as well. Reputation is also a major factor. “It’s a really small world in real estate,” Pranay says. “You’d be surprised.” 

When it comes to deal selection, Ascent employs its own asset manager. “Usually allocators like us don't have their own asset management, but we really believe in managing the manager,” Pranay says. “So we are very selective with the deals we look at.” They underwrite each deal from scratch, then have their asset manager examine it as well before signing on. 

 

3. Gaining Leverage with Operators

Ascent typically brings anywhere from 90% to 97.5% of the equity to a joint venture deal. This gives them major decision rights. They have institutional-level oversight over the properties, which allows them to visit sites as often as every other week. 

The number-one priority, Pranay says, is always to make sure the business plan is getting taken care of. “We have investor overrides for the decisions, buy/sell rights — we have all of that,” he says. “We really want the power to make sure our investor is taken care of.” 

 

Dr. Pranay Parikh | Real Estate Background

  • President of Ascent Equity Group, which helps individuals build wealth through low-risk, high-growth multifamily investments in strong markets throughout the U.S. with a focus on healthcare professionals (doctors, dentists, etc). They do joint ventures with operators to buy value-add multifamily properties.
  • Portfolio:
    • Joint venture
      • $200M in CRE
      • 1,200 units
      • Four properties
    • LP of over $1B investments
  • Based in: Los Angeles, CA
  • Say hi to him at:
  • Best Ever Book: Farewell, Godspeed by Cyrus M. Copeland
  • Greatest Lesson: If you are honest and transparent with your investors, they will give you the benefit of the doubt. With how turbulent the debt market has been, on our last deal, they tried to change the terms the day before closing. We had to go back and offer our investors the chance to back out (only one did that out of 300 investors).

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Direct download: JF_2948_Pranay_Parikh.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EST

Passive Investor Tips is a weekly series hosted by full-time passive investor and Best Ever Show host, Travis Watts. In each bite-sized episode, Travis breaks down passive investor topics, simplifying the philosophy and mindset while providing tactical, valuable information on how to be a passive investor.

In this episode, Travis discusses both active and passive investing strategies and how to decide which is best for you. Deciding factors include the skill sets required and motivation behind each strategy, plus some scenarios where using both strategies might be the best choice. 

 

Active Investing

Active investing means having an active involvement in the actual business itself for the real estate that you’re acquiring. 

 

Required Skill Sets

  • The ability to understand and underwrite properties, and to understand the analysis that comes with that. 
  • The ability to find deals off-market that give you your competitive edge. 
  • The ability to assemble teams and manage people. 
  • A conservative and realistic approach to project future and current expenses and potential returns for the deals that you’re doing. 
  • The ability to follow through on a business plan. 
  • Having the time to be able to dedicate to all of this. 

 

Motivating Factors

You might be doing an active deal because you want to learn the foundation of real estate, or you may simply enjoy work that involves repairs and renovations. Active investors also earn higher profits on return than passive investors. 

 

Passive Investing

As a passive investor, you do not have material participation in the business or deal itself. You are effectively investing in someone else’s deal or someone else’s business as a hands-off investor.

 

Required Skill Sets 

  • A basic understanding of property analysis and how real estate works fundamentally. 
  • The ability to network and find deals. 
  • The ability to manage your finances and personal budget. 
  • The ability to identify conservative underwriting when you’re vetting deals and doing your due diligence.
  • The ability to relinquish control and just simply let others run the deal, make the big decisions, and do what they do best. 

 

Motivating Factors

Passive investing might be for you if you want to free up your time. You may have another career or other professional interest that you focus on full-time, and investing passively would allow you to continue focusing on those interests. It’s a way to build up supplemental income without sacrificing more of your time. 

 

Why Not Both? 

Many investors choose some combination of active and passive investing. For example, active investors often invest passively as well in order to diversify their portfolios.

Additionally, commercial real estate beginners without much capital to invest often choose to start out as active investors. This strategy allows them to build up their “nest egg” in order to accumulate enough capital to create significant returns once they decide to invest passively.

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Direct download: JF_2947_Passive_Investor_Tips_11.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EST

Rohun Jauhar began his career in corporate finance, working for General Electric and Facebook before deciding he wanted to branch out on his own. After considering several paths — including running Domino’s franchises — he found multifamily real estate. 

Today, Rohun is the founding partner of JT Capital, which focuses on 120- to 400-unit apartment complexes that have below-market rents in Florida. He is a GP of 5,000 units as well as an LP in a few multifamily, self-storage, industrial, and short-term rental deals. In this episode, Rohun tells us how he got started in multifamily by underwriting 100 deals in 30 days, his thoughts on rising interest rates, and how systems have helped him to scale his business. 

 

Rohun Jauhar | Real Estate Background

  • Founding partner of JT Capital, which focuses on 120- to 400-unit apartment complexes that have below-market rents in Florida.
  • Portfolio:
    • GP of 5,000 units
    • LP in a few deals that span multifamily, self-storage, industrial, and short-term rentals.
  • Based in: Austin, TX
  • Say hi to him at:
  • Greatest Lesson: The fundamental lesson that underpins everything we do was something I heard from Bill Ackman, which was that "while everyone else is thinking in years, you can set yourself apart by thinking in decades.” This underpins everything we do from our business to friendships, to health and fitness.

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Direct download: JF_2946_Rohun_Jauhar_.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EST

Morgan Henry is a civil engineering inspector who began investing in the stock market in 2019. She quickly realized she loved researching and working to seek out the best opportunities but craved a more exciting asset class. In 2021, she decided to cash out of the stock market and use that money to get a real estate mentor — and she hasn’t looked back since. 

Today, Morgan is the founder of Cassini Capital Investments, which focuses on multifamily syndication. She is a GP of 404 units and asset manager of 428 units. In this episode, she shares the biggest lessons she took away from her mentorship program, how she found her current partner through Facebook, and her networking tips for CRE beginners. 

 

Morgan Henry | Real Estate Background

  • Founder of Cassini Capital Investments, which focuses on multifamily syndication.
  • Portfolio:
    • GP of 404 units
    • Asset manager of 428 units
  • Works full-time in construction management in Civil Engineering.
  • Based in: Dallas, TX
  • Say hi to her at:
  • Greatest lesson: There are a million ways to make money. I found a lot of my recent success by staying open-minded and taking on any challenge where I can learn and grow my business while providing value for someone else. I’m not caught up in the shiny object syndrome or obsessed with getting a slice of the GP. There are different roads you can take to be successful. Recognize your strengths and weaknesses early on and find someone to compliment them.

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Direct download: JF_2945_Morgan_Henry_.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EST

Each week for the Best Ever Round Table, the three Best Ever Show hosts — Ash Patel, Slocomb Reed, and Travis Watts — come together for a deep dive into a commercial real estate investing topic.

In this episode, Ash, Slocomb, and Travis discuss a hypothetical scenario: If they had to start over today with no money, no assets, and no network — but still having all of their current experience in real estate investing — how would they begin engaging in real estate investing again today?

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Direct download: JF_2944_Round_Table_21.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EST

David Richter has 10 years of real estate experience with a background in acquisitions, disposition, property management, transaction coordination, marketing, and CFO. Through that experience, he realized he wanted to help real estate investors learn how to take control of their finances. After reading Profit First by Mike Michalowicz, he knew he had the perfect framework to help real estate entrepreneurs manage the cash in their businesses. 

Today, David is the owner and founder of Simple CFO Solutions, which matches real estate investors with a fractional CFO to grow their bottom line profit and decrease financial stress. He is also the author of Profit First for Real Estate Investing.

In this episode, he discusses common financial pitfalls he sees real estate investors experience, why he recommends entrepreneurs set up at least four bank accounts to manage their finances, and the services he offers real estate professionals through Simple CFO Solutions and the Profit First System. 

 

David Richter | Real Estate Background

  • Owner and founder of Simple CFO Solutions, which matches real estate investors with a fractional CFO to grow their bottom line profit and decrease financial stress.
  • 10 years of real estate experience, including acquisitions, dispositions, property management, transaction coordination, marketing, and CFO.
  • Author of Profit First for Real Estate Investing
  • Based in: St. Cloud, FL
  • Say hi to him at:
  • Greatest Lesson: Make sure to make profit a habit in your business and pay yourself first.

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Direct download: JF_2943_David_Richter_.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EST

The Beyond Multifamily series is hosted by non-residential commercial real estate investor and Best Ever Show host, Ash Patel. Ash’s goal for this series is to introduce you to the world of non-residential commercial real estate investing and teach you how to look at and underwrite different commercial asset classes.

In this episode, Ash highlights this often overlooked commercial real estate asset, and why it provides an excellent opportunity to make money. He lays out the benefits of buying medical buildings based on cap rates, stability, diversification, and more — plus what to look for when buying a medical practice.

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Direct download: JF_2942_Beyond_Multifamily_17.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EST

Chris Long is the CEO and founder of Longyards, a hybrid business model that takes old-world storage and combines it with secure contractor storage yards, as well as community support. Longyards is an exterior storage rental business that caters to small business owners, large-scale operations, and even individuals who simply need more room for their hobbies. 

In this episode, Chris shares how he came up with the idea for Longyards, how he used a 10-acre commercial property to launch an innovative new business, what his typical customers are like, and the unexpected barriers to entry that come with this unique asset class.

 

Chris Long | Real Estate Background

  • CEO and founder of Longyards, a hybrid business model that takes old-world storage and combines it with secure contractor storage yards, as well as community support.
  • Portfolio:
    • GP of three properties in Ottawa, CA; Florida; and North Carolina
  • Based in: Ottawa, CA
  • Say hi to him at:
  • Greatest Lesson: Communication is key.

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Direct download: JF_2941_Chris_Long_.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 3:00am EST

Passive Investor Tips is a weekly series hosted by full-time passive investor and Best Ever Show host, Travis Watts. In each bite-sized episode, Travis breaks down passive investor topics, simplifying the philosophy and mindset while providing tactical, valuable information on how to be a passive investor.

In this episode, Travis talks about the various levels investors need to achieve on the path to building financial wealth. Using Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, Travis has created his own hierarchy of wealth building to illustrate what needs must be met before you can achieve financial independence. There are five tiers in this hierarchy:

 

1. Self-Sufficiency

The first level in the hierarchy of wealth building is self-sufficiency. This is where you can support your living costs and expenses through active income. You may have a W-2 job or work as an independent contractor — in any case, you are working to pay your expenses. 

 

2. Stability

At the second level, you eliminate high-interest debt, bad debt, and credit card debt. You also have some cash in the bank as a reserve. 

 

3. Flexibility

At the third level, you could potentially take a year off of work, travel, or even pivot careers. You may have some investments or IRA accounts and adequate cash reserves in the bank. However, you are still working to pay your expenses. Your investments have not been able to generate enough income for you to quit your job.

 

4. Financial Independence

At the fourth level, you are able to live off of the income that your investments generate. It is important to note that even if you are a high-income earner who makes millions of dollars per year, it isn’t possible to reach financial independence unless you become a passive income investor.

 

5. Financial Abundance

At the fifth and final level, money is no longer a concern. You have more than you will ever need, and you may begin using that extra money to give back via sizeable charitable donations.

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Direct download: JF_2940_Passive_Investor_Tips_10.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 3:00am EST

Micy Liu is the founder and managing partner at Life Mission Capital, a commercial real estate firm that focuses on multifamily investing. She is a GP of 348 units, a fund manager of 929 units, and an LP of 187 units. She also works a full-time W-2 job in the data analytics space, which helped her cultivate the skill set necessary to excel in due diligence and data analysis in the commercial real estate world.

In this episode, Micy shares how she uses her data analysis background to her advantage during the business plan execution process, the importance of prioritizing the collection of data, and how she is adapting her business models in response to the economic volatility investors are facing right now. 

 

Micy Liu | Real Estate Background

  • Founder and managing partner at Life Mission Capital, a commercial real estate firm that focuses on multifamily investing.
  • Portfolio:
    • GP of 348 units
    • Fund manager of 929 units
    • LP of 187 units
  • Based in: Fayetteville, AR
  • Say hi to her at:
  • Best Ever Book: DotCom Secrets by Russell Brunson
  • Greatest lesson: Confusion causes indecision.

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Direct download: JF_2939_Micy_Liu_.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EST

Andrew Rosenberg is a passive investor who works full-time for his family business, Ralph Rosenberg Court Reporters. He first became "hooked" on investments after buying his first stock at age 13. Years later, Andrew and his father decided to begin investing their extra money in real estate. They started out with single-family homes but made the switch to syndications in order to scale more quickly. 

Today, Andrew is an LP of 3,400 units, along with small investments in office, farmland, and ATM syndications. In this episode, he discusses what he looks for when evaluating syndications, the one thing he considers to be a deal breaker, and why there’s no such thing as a truly passive investment.

 

Andrew Rosenberg | Real Estate Background

  • Passive investor who works full-time at Ralph Rosenberg Court Reporters.
  • Portfolio:
    • LP of 3,400 units, along with small investments in office, farmland, and ATM syndications
  • Based in: Honolulu, HI
  • Say hi to him at:
  • Greatest lesson: Much like with most everything in life, you have to work and earn results; there is no silver bullet.

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Direct download: JF_2938_Andrew_Rosenberg_.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 3:00am EST

In this episode, Slocomb shares his secrets about how to find and keep great contractors. He breaks down the three aspects of a good contractor — speed, affordability, and quality — and how to decide which of these aspects is most important to you. He also shares what to do once you have found a good contractor in order to foster a relationship and build loyalty.

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Direct download: JF_2937_Slocomb_Bonus_Operations_2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EST

Bobby Larsen has spent virtually his entire career in real estate. He earned his broker’s license while studying as an undergraduate, working in the sales part of the residential industry through his graduation. He then moved on to the investment world, working for a large asset manager based out of Newport Beach. 12 years, later, he launched Vanamour Investments, which strategically invests in multifamily communities throughout the United States through syndications and joint ventures with high-net-worth, family office, and institutional investors. 

Today, Bobby is the founder and principal of Vanamor Investments. He is a GP of 400 units across seven properties totaling $115M in AUM, as well as an LP of 10,000 units across 34 properties. In this episode, Bobby tells us how he qualifies operators as an LP and how he establishes trust with LPs from a GP perspective, plus his thoughts on why investors lose money in multifamily and why he believes now is a better time to invest than it was six months ago. 

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Direct download: JF_2936_Bobby_Larsen_.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EST

In this episode, Ash takes on the topic of partnerships, covering partners in business, deals, and joint ventures. He also shares the six most important lessons he’s learned from mistakes he has made over the years.

 

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Direct download: JF_2935_Beyond_Multifamily_16.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EST

Michael Gilman started his career as an attorney in investment banks. This gave him a chance to explore asset classes and business lines, which influenced him to leave the volatility of the stock market for real estate. He began investing his own capital, creating cash flow to replace his salary so he could eventually begin a full-time career in real estate.

Today, Michael is the founder of Cross Mountain Capital, a vertically integrated sponsor focused on value-add and opportunistic real estate in New England and the Mountain West. In this episode, Michael shares how his first deal became the best-performing property in his portfolio, how his Wall Street and law background help him with the due diligence process, and his secrets to successfully scaling. 

 

Michael Gilman | Real Estate Background

  • Founder of Cross Mountain Capital, a vertically integrated sponsor focused on value-add and opportunistic real estate in New England and the Mountain West.
  • Portfolio:
    • GP of 600+ units
  • Based in: New York, NY
  • Say hi to him at:
  • Greatest lesson: The importance of finding the right partner to scale.

 

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Direct download: JF_2934_Michael_Gilman_.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EST

Hemal Badiani spent two decades traveling between three continents as he provided management consulting services to several fortune 100 companies. Several years ago, he decided to hang up his traveling boots and join the financial world, which led him to real estate. 

Today, Hemal is the CEO and founder of Exponential Equity, which builds and buys large commercial assets in the Carolinas. He is a GP of 744 units and $60M of ongoing construction projects that include self-storage and build-to-rent communities. In this episode, Hemal discusses the strategies that helped him rapidly scale his business over the last 16 months since leaving his W-2 job. 

1. Be clear about what you do well — and what you don’t.

When Hemal was new to the business and looking to educate himself, he insisted on being authentic about what he did and didn’t know. His specialty is in helping others improve their businesses, backed by two decades of corporate experience. However, he makes it clear that construction isn’t his forte. “People are attracted to that authenticity and the competency that I bring to the table,” he says.

2. Focus on what works in your market.

One of the reasons Hemal says he has been able to scale successfully so quickly is that he stays disciplined when it comes to what works in his chosen market. He avoids attaching numbers to his goals — whether he does $100M or $10M, he is happy if he, his partners, and his employees can make a good living. 

“We just continue the momentum and expansion of business, and the way we’re building each project is more important to us than having a fancy target,” he says. “That philosophy has allowed us for the most part … to stay in a very disciplined lane in terms of what we’re trying to do.”

3. Manage your emotions.

Last year, Hemal and his team walked away from a $45M deal and lost $385K in due diligence money. The sellers said they did due diligence, and because Hemal trusted them, his team didn’t follow their typical process. They later found out that there was a misleading set of financial information once they got into the contract and the deposit had already been made. “The biggest lesson was … if you let your excitement let you diverge from that process, you can get knocked down pretty quickly,” he says. 

4. Hire people who genuinely subscribe to your vision.

A major fundamental that has helped Hemal to scale is finding the right people who have the right values, integrity, hunger, and drive that he carries. He determines who these people are through a genuine conversation about how they view success and what they truly want out of their careers. 

“Once I find the right person, I trust them so much they get uncomfortable sleeping at night,” he says. “I look at them and I’m like, ‘I know you got this.’ And they just do magic and they go above and beyond.”

5. Stay nimble. 

Because the market has been so dynamic over the last two years, Hemal and his team assess and alter their strategies each quarter. By refusing to stay married to any one idea for a long period of time, they are able to adapt to market changes as they continue to build out their business both horizontally and vertically. 

6. Ask the experts. 

When Hemal was just starting out, the most valuable education he received came from established operators. “We asked these owner-operators to basically open up the books on how they manage properties, how they do reporting, and how they do communication,” he says. After reviewing five other operators’ playbooks, he was able to distill down his own version and buy his first property in September 2020.

7. Take action. 

“When you’re trying to climb a mountain, if you’re thinking about what shoes you want to wear and what pack you want to bring and what kind of filtered water you want to bring, I’m telling you — folks like myself are going to go barefoot and be halfway there before you decide to take action,” Hemal says. Even if you make mistakes, he believes those experiences only help to build credibility and good judgment.

Hemal Badiani | Real Estate Background

  • CEO and founder of Exponential Equity, which builds and buys large commercial assets (mainly multifamily) in the Carolinas.
  • Previous episode: JF2418: Using Diverse Background and Personal Superpowers in Real Estate
  • Portfolio:
    • GP of:
      • 744 units
      • $60M of ongoing construction projects that include self-storage and build-to-rent communities
    • LP of:
      • 2,000 units
  • Based in: Charlotte, NC
  • Say hi to him at:
  • Greatest lesson: Do your best every day, but remember that your best is different on different days.

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Direct download: JF_2933_Hemal_Badiani_.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 3:33am EST

Each week for the Best Ever Round Table, the three Best Ever Show hosts — Ash Patel, Slocomb Reed, and Travis Watts — come together for a deep dive into a commercial real estate investing topic.

Have you recently dipped your toe into commercial real estate? Maybe you’ve done a deal or two, or maybe you’re considering putting some more CRE in your portfolio. If you’re just getting started, this episode is for you. Ash, Slocomb, and Travis discuss what originally attracted them to commercial real estate and how you can decide if it’s the right path for you.

 

1. Why Commercial Real Estate?

Ash, Slocomb, and Travis each had different circumstances that led them to consider investing in real estate. 

  • Ash was seeking a way to offset taxes.

    “I found real estate by accident,” he says. Every year, he would ask his CPA how to offset his taxes as a W-2 earner, but never received a useful answer. “I always heard that real estate was a great way to offset taxes,” he continues. “I didn’t understand what that meant, but I thought I should buy some real estate.”
  • Slocomb was looking for a side hustle.

    Before becoming an apartment owner/operator, he worked as a youth minister. “I was just looking to bridge the gap with a part-time job, be contributing equally to our family as my wife was, and I finally picked up Rich Dad Poor Dad,” he says. Soon after, he embarked on his first house hack and fell in love with real estate.

  • Travis was following his dream of entrepreneurship.

    “I just didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do for a business,” he says. “So it took many years to go full-time with real estate, and that was about a seven-year journey.”

2. Top Lessons Learned in Their CRE Careers

  • If you want to go far, go together.

    “If you’re full-time in real estate and your goal is to scale, you have to start looking at partners, joint ventures, and other people to work with,” Ash says. He also advises carefully selecting your partners and clearly communicating your expectations beforehand.


  • You always have the ability to adapt.

    When Slocomb realized he was pulling most of the weight in a partnership, he decided to do something about it. “I formed a property management company through that experience so that my partnership could pay me management fees for doing all of the work,” he explains. That management company has allowed him to take down additional deals, scale through hiring, and scale through new partnerships. “It was my ability to adapt to changing circumstances that those things happened.”
  • You don’t have to start small.

    “I would say to anybody listening, whether you are or want to be a GP, an LP, do a JV, individual purchasing — you really can start with multifamily or commercial, or something above that,” Travis says. He didn’t realize this for a long time, and like many CRE investors, now believes he could have gone bigger faster when he started out.

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Direct download: JF_2932_Round_Table_19.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 3:30am EST

Marshall Sykes served in the U.S. Navy as a Civil Engineer Corps officer, where he built and maintained military bases. He retired after 25 years as a captain, moving on to a career in the oil and gas business with ExxonMobil. In 2021, after eight years in that role, he decided to launch a full-time career in multifamily real estate. 

Today, Marshall is the president and owner of Capitano Investing Group, which focuses on multifamily real estate syndications with 100 or more units. He is a GP of over 2,600 units across 13 properties. In this episode, he shares how he acquired so many units in his first 14 months as a syndicator, why he feels that rising interest rates can be used to his advantage, and his projections for how increasing expenses will impact the multifamily space. 

 

Marshall Sykes | Real Estate Background

  • President and owner of Capitano Investing Group, which focuses on multifamily real estate syndications with 100+ units.
  • Portfolio:
    • GP of 2,600+ units across 13 properties valued at $330M
    • LP in nearly every property that he has raised on
  • Based in: Houston, TX
  • Say hi to him at:
  • Best Ever Book: Halftime by Bob Buford
  • Greatest lesson: Develop your strategy before you start implementing it.

 

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Direct download: JF_2931_Marshall_Sykes_.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:30am EST

Ben Kogut got his start in the commercial real estate space as a broker in 2004. He pivoted to syndications in 2017, joining HJH Investments. Today, Ben is a partner and the Director of Investor Relations at HJH, which specializes in triple-net, cash-flowing investment properties including shopping centers, office buildings, industrial, medical, and QSR.

In this episode, Ben compares and contrasts triple-net commercial real estate syndications with multifamily syndications. He also discusses the two major components of management and the strategy he and his team use to take down one deal every month.

Ben Kogut | Real Estate Background

  • Partner and director of investor relations at HJH Investments, which specializes in NNN cash-flowing investment properties like shopping centers, office buildings, industrial, medical, and QSR.
  • Portfolio:
    • GP of 80 acquisitions, totaling $500M in AUM
    • LP of 10 deals
  • Based in: Austin, TX
  • Say hi to him at:
  • Best Ever Book:  Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl
  • Greatest Lesson: Relationships are the most important part of business! Relationships with our investors, lenders, brokers, vendors, etc.

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Direct download: JF_2930_Ben_Kogut_.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 3:30am EST

Lisa Landry started her interior design firm specializing in residential and commercial properties more than 20 years ago. Today, she is the CEO of Above & Beyond Multifamily and Landry Designs. She is a multifamily syndicator and asset manager as well as an interior designer specializing in adding value to multifamily properties across the country, particularly in class B and C assets. 

When it comes to syndications, Lisa stresses that design is incredibly important. “Our job as designers for multifamily is to do whatever we can to boost the NOI,” she says. “It’s just amazing how quickly the value of the property can increase.” In this episode, Lisa shares her top interior design tips property owners can use to increase their NOI. 

Lisa Landry | Real Estate Background

  • CEO of Above & Beyond Multifamily and Landry Designs. She is a multifamily syndicator and asset manager, as well as an interior designer specializing in adding value to multifamily properties across the country, particularly class B and C assets.
  • Portfolio:
    • GP of 108 units
    • Recently had an LP property go full cycle
  • She has won 35 International Design Awards, been published nationally 18 times, and is a 10-time winner of Living Magazine's Best Interior Designer award.
  • Based in: Ft. Worth, TX
  • Say hi to her at:
  • Best Ever Book: Best Ever Apartment Syndication Book by Joe Fairless & Theo Hicks
  • Greatest lesson:
    • Real Estate: I have learned how rewarding it is to transform B & C properties into safe, beautiful places to live and work. Also, to provide multifamily investment opportunities to regular, everyday people who weren't aware of the multifamily space prior to introducing it to them.
    • Interior Design: I have learned that people's moods, happiness, and productivity can be extremely affected by their surroundings and that people like to live in unique spaces. That's what Landry Designs is known for.

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Direct download: JF_2929_Lisa_Landry.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 3:30am EST

In this episode, Travis explores a hypothetical situation many investors have thought about: What if you lost everything and had to start over again? This is a typical, fear-based thought many investors experience in the early stages. Travis shares why he knows he’ll be okay regardless of what the future holds for him, how avoiding the “success cycle” is crucial, and the two things you should always keep in mind as a passive investor.

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Direct download: JF_2928_Passive_Investing_Tips_9.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:04am EST

John McGeown is a self-described old soul in real estate. He grew up in Chicago and joined the U.S. Navy after graduation, where he served from 1999 to 2003. At age 24, he decided to enter the world of real estate. 

Today, John is the president of High Fidelity Property Management, a third-party property management company that has 1,000 apartment units under management throughout Chicago’s North Side neighborhoods. In this episode, he shares his top five Best Ever tips for property managers, as well as his experience as a GP in the Chicago MSA.

1. Don’t Underestimate the Time It Will Take

John says that many people who self-manage underestimate the time it takes to properly manage a building, which is why they often come to him for help. “I think the mistake is people try to do too much too fast too soon,” he says. 

2. Make Sure You Have the Right Resources

Others who self-manage their properties tend to struggle because they haven’t yet established reliable connections. “Having a good cast of vendors is one of the hardest things for property owners who are managing themselves,” John says. 

3. Your Existing Portfolio Is the Gold

John admits that he is often in “go” mode and forgets this one thing: “Your existing portfolio is the gold, and new people are silver,” he says. He sees many third-party property managers flip those priorities around, making the mistake of devaluing their existing client base and overvaluing new business. 

4. Know What You Know — And What You Don’t

When asked why he hasn’t ventured into short-term rentals, John answers candidly: “I’m a Navy guy, and I’m very cautious,” he says. “I know what I know, and I know what I don’t know.” It took him a considerable amount of time to discover who he is, what he wants to offer, why he is different, and why people should work with him. Now that he has that figured out, he prefers not to deviate from his plan. 

“There’s always going to be a shiny object that somebody is shaking in front of you,” he says. “For me, it never really felt like something that I wanted to do. So I didn’t do it.” 

5. Three Things to Look for When Evaluating Vendors

“Communication, trust, and competency are the things that we look for when we’re evaluating new vendors,” John says. Additionally, he prioritizes getting the best possible price for the best service he can. 

John McGeown | Real Estate Background

  • President of High Fidelity Property Management, a third-party property management company that has 1,000 apartment units under management throughout Chicago's North Side neighborhoods.
  • Portfolio:
    • GP of 100 units
    • LP of 36 units
  • Based in: Chicago, IL
  • Say hi to him at:
  • Greatest lesson: Never give up! This business doesn't slow down for me, so I have to work hard to keep up. Sometimes tomorrow is about learning from yesterday.

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Direct download: JF_2927_John_McGeown_.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:30am EST

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

  • Founding and managing partner of VestWell Ventures, multifamily operators and developers focused on a value-add strategy.
  • Portfolio:
    • GP of 167 units
    • LP of 1,070 units
  • Based in: Los Angeles, CA
  • Say hi to her at:
  • Best Ever Book: Measure What Matters by John Doerr
  • Greatest lesson: You have to be engaged in your business, take a proactive approach, and exhibit a great amount of grit, especially when faced with economic uncertainty. I don’t look at multifamily investing as a pastime; it’s my business and I expect to see it succeed.

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Direct download: JF_2926_Brenda_Mas_.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:30am EST

Jennings Smith and his cousin Yeadon Smith are business partners who collectively own approximately 48% of their portfolio, which they were able to achieve through BRRRR-style apartment buying. Jennings got his start as a contractor after earning his builder’s license at 19 and began slowly building wealth through real estate. He took Michael Blank’s Ultimate Apartment Buyer Guide online course, which helped him syndicate his first 12-unit deal in 2019. 

Today, Jennings is the co-founder of Live Oak Capital and My First Million in Multifamily. Live Oak Capital is an investment firm focused on multifamily, and MFMIM aims to build networks and communication that help people close multifamily deals. In this episode, Jennings explains why he prefers syndications to JV deals, why he chooses to structure his deals with a 70/30 split with 70% going to the GP, and how identifying his strengths and weaknesses helped him to scale. 

 

Jennings Smith | Real Estate Background

  • Co-founder of Live Oak Capital and My First Million in Multifamily (MFMIM). Live Oak Capital is an investment firm focused on multifamily. MFMIM aims to build networks and communication that help people close multifamily deals.
  • Portfolio:
    • GP of:
      • 1,000 units
      • 500 self-storage units
  • Based in: Summerville, SC
  • Say hi to him at:
  • Best Ever Book: Flip the Script by Oren Klaff
  • Greatest lesson: Borrowed belief. Understand that achieving goals is not difficult, it can just be different than what you initially thought. Surround yourself with people that inspire that same belief and are able to unlock your potential.

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Direct download: JF_2925_Jennings_Smith_.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:30am EST

Danté Belmonte is a 24-year-old real estate broker based in Syracuse, New York. Four years into his career, Danté decided to venture into multifamily syndications in the Charlotte, North Carolina MSA. 

Today, Danté is the managing partner at Victory Capital Group, which acquires and operates multifamily properties. He is a GP of three syndications totaling 100 units and an LP of approximately 1,200 units. In this episode, Danté shares how he and his business partner find deals in the competitive Charlotte MSA, how they pulled off a 30-day close, how he approaches broker relationships as a broker himself, and the importance of professional property management. 

Danté Belmonte | Real Estate Background

  • Managing partner at Victory Capital Group, which acquires and operates multifamily properties in North Carolina.
  • Portfolio:
    • GP of three syndications totaling 100 units
    • LP of about 1,200 units
  • Based in: Syracuse, NY
  • Say hi to him at:
  • Greatest lesson: It’s incredibly important to have a partner that fills your voids and that you can trust.

 

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Direct download: JF_2924_Dante_Belmonte.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:30am EST

Before he founded Wild Moose Ventures, Matt Onofrio worked as a nurse, a paramedic, and a firefighter. He also earned a doctorate in anesthesia from Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. Despite his achievements, however, he felt trapped — he craved financial freedom. After considering his options, he decided to venture into real estate. 

Today, Matt is the founder of Wild Moose Ventures, which achieves passive wealth-generating opportunities through commercial real estate investments in the Midwest. He is a GP of $500M in assets under management. In this episode, Matt discusses how he finds deals, how he structures a typical deal, and why multifamily investors should consider venturing into non-residential commercial real estate.

  • Founder of Wild Moose Ventures, which achieves passive wealth-generating opportunities through commercial real estate investments in the Midwest.
  • Portfolio: GP of $500M in AUM
  • Based in: Eau Claire, WI
  • Say hi to him at:

Greatest lesson: Commercial real estate and triple-net investing present a unique opportunity to build personal wealth andfinancial independence. Triple-net investing is an often overlooked topic in commercial real estate. Most of the owners are REITs, institutions, or very wealthy individuals. I wrote my forthcoming book, Triple-Net Investing (NNN): Finding Freedom with Commercial Real Estate’s Best-Kept Secret, to educate and empower everyday investors and help scale their investments and achieve the life they never dreamed of.

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Direct download: JF_2923_Matt_Onofrio.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:30am EST

Badri Malynur has invested in various startups and across asset classes, including auctions, stock, commodities, and bonds. After entering semi-retirement, a friend asked him to help co-found Avestor Inc., a technology platform focused on an end-to-end solution for sponsors to build customizable private funds. 

Today, Badri serves as VP at Avestor in addition to his role as co-founder. In this episode, he shares why he and his friends decided to create Avestor, why both the syndication and fund industries are ripe for disruption, and how customizable private funds are changing investing as we know it.

 

Badri Malynur | Real Estate Background

  • Co-founder and VP at Avestor Inc., a technology platform focused on an end-to-end solution for sponsors to build customizable private funds.
  • Portfolio:
    • LP of over 50 deals across multiple asset classes including multifamily, self-storage, industrial, mobile home parks, and student housing
  • Based in: Beaverton, OR
  • Say hi to him at:
  • Greatest lesson: Build a diversified portfolio that spans multiple asset classes using a dumbbell approach for managing risk.

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Direct download: JF_2922_Badri_Malynur_.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:37am EST

Passive Investor Tips is a weekly series hosted by full-time passive investor and Best Ever Show host, Travis Watts. In each bite-sized episode, Travis breaks down passive investor topics, simplifying the philosophy and mindset while providing tactical, valuable information on how to be a passive investor.

In this episode, Travis expands on his famous saying: “It’s simple, but it’s not easy.” He explains how most passive investors begin their journey with a modest investment that might not seem impressive at first, but it’s important to keep in mind that it’s only the beginning. The journey takes time, patience, and self-discipline. 

While it is simple to invest, Travis stresses that real estate, in most cases, is not a way to get rich quickly. It’s a wealth-building strategy. However, once you study the fundamentals, get the right education, and lay out your roadmap, it will simply be a matter of time before you reach your financial goals.

 

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Direct download: JF_2921_Passive_Investor_Tips_8.mp3
Category:Passive Investing -- posted at: 3:30am EST

Leslie Awasom is a nurse anesthetist who co-founded XSITE Capital Investment with his partners, Julius Oni and Tenny Tolofari. When he came across the multifamily asset class, Leslie realized many of his colleagues in the healthcare industry and members of his community were unaware that this type of investment opportunity existed. He and his partners were inspired to create XSITE in 2019 to educate more people about multifamily investing. 

Today, XSITE has $125M in assets under management with a growing community of investors. In this episode, Leslie discusses his role as director of operations, his love for analyzing data, and the correlations he’s seen between his career in anesthesiology and business operations for XSITE. 

  • Co-founder and Director of Operations of XSITE Capital Investment LLC, which focuses on multifamily syndications.
  • Previous Best Ever Episode: JF2163: Anesthesiologist to Real Estate with Leslie Awasom
  • Currently works as a nurse anesthetist transitioning to real estate full-time.
  • Portfolio:
    • GP of 694 units, totaling $125M in AUM
    • LP of $53M across two deals
  • Based in: Hanover, MD
  • Say hi to him at:
  • Greatest lesson: Have great partners and significantly accelerate your growth.

 

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Direct download: JF_2920_Leslie_Awasom_.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:30am EST

Michael Episcope worked as a commodities trader for 15 years while investing passively before deciding to take things a step further and earn a master’s degree in real estate. Looking back on previous passive investing experiences, Michael and his business partner came together with a simple idea: “We can do this better.”

Today Michael is co-CEO of Origin Investments, a private equity real estate firm serving nearly 3,000 high-net-worth individuals. Origin builds, buys, and lends to class A multifamily real estate in tax and climate-friendly states. 

In this episode, Michael shares how he found his business partner, his strategy for finding developers and managing them remotely, how the JOBS act catalyzed Origin’s growth, and why saying no is the most important lesson he’s learned thus far. 

 

Michael Episcope | Real Estate Background

  • Co-CEO of Origin Investments, a private equity real estate firm serving nearly 3,000 high-net-worth individuals. Origin builds, buys, and lends to class A multifamily real estate in tax and climate-friendly states.
  • Portfolio: $2B in AUM
  • Based in: Chicago, IL
  • Say hi to him at:
  • Greatest lesson: Don’t engage in businesses that create a conflict of interest between you and your investors.

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Direct download: JF_2919_Michael_Episcop_.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:30am EST

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