Accredited Investors

So, you’re interested in spreading your wings in real estate investing. However, to become an accredited investor and invest passively in potentially lucrative deals, you must meet specific income/ net worth requirements.

If you do meet these requirements, taking part in accredited investing is one of the smartest decisions you can make. Why? Because these types of passive investors can generate cash flow without having to work a regular 9-to-5. In addition, you can easily generate higher returns and lower your risk when you participate in an apartment syndication deal versus trying to handle your own deal.

Take a peek at the blogs below to become familiar with the accredited investor definition, and explore how to get started in this field. For instance, you can find out the benefits of investing in apartment syndication deals, and the best places to invest in such deals. Then, if you enjoy what you read, feel free to check out my hundreds of other blog posts for other valuable real estate investing insights. Also, take a peek at my Best Real Estate Investing Advice Ever book for even more strategies for winning as a real estate investor.

Knowledge without Action Is Nothing with Adam Bazia

Knowledge Without Action Is Nothing with Adam Bazia

Adam Bazia moved from Poland to Seattle in his twenties hoping to work in the construction industry, but soon realized that most of the jobs he had his eye on required a degree. Refusing to let this stand in his way, Adam attended the University of Washington, where he took classes in business and earned a degree in construction management.

After graduation, he went to work as a superintendent on a government project but soon discovered that working for other people wasn’t for him.

“I decided to leave because I found there were good opportunities to build houses at the time, so I started my own business. Luckily, I started it when the economy was on the rise,” Adam said. “Now anytime I purchase a lot and know I’m not ready to build on it, I know I’m going to build it within an eight-month time frame. But I didn’t know that then, so I risked it a little bit.”

With some good timing and a lot of hard work, Adam’s risk paid off. In 1998, he started his contracting business renovating and eventually investing in multifamily projects.

“I was a builder and then a land developer, then the business cycles redirected me to find a more secure business that created cash flow on a regular basis. That’s how I found the multifamily market,” Adam shared.

Adam’s desire to learn didn’t stop after graduation. In the investing world, he learned by example. Emulating what he saw working for others, he built his own hybrid of contract work and investing.

“I was always seeking more business education here in the United States. Along the way, I would ask, ‘This guy is successful — what’s he doing?’ He’s doing the construction, but at the same time, he’s investing in various areas, like buying a piece of land or buying an older home and renovating it,” Adam said.

This enthusiasm to learn inspired Adam to seek out experienced investors to surround himself with. For investors of all experience levels, it’s essential to associate with people who have the wisdom to impart, who have made mistakes already, and who know how to avoid making them again.

“I choose people who have been in business for a while. They’ve faced certain challenges already; they’ve already figured out how to solve those problems, and that makes their business stronger,” Adam reflected. “Beyond that, honesty and integrity are important, too. I look at what someone is trying to accomplish and what they’ve added to their life that has enabled them to be successful.”

From watching and learning from other investors, Adam knew he had to use his resources and connections wisely.

“I purchased a couple of multifamily buildings. I had some relationships with the bank so I built one fourplex, then another, and designed them so I could sell them as townhomes. In Seattle, small projects were not penciling out,” Adam said. “I was the one that said, ‘Okay, well, I have this resource, so I’m going to utilize it.’”

With the confidence of a solid foundation built on his network, Adam also expressed the importance of another resource: the backup plan.

“I think it’s very, very important to invest money in organizations, and have a system in place where if something happens, there’s always a plan B, C, and D. Because if you call in with a crisis that you can’t solve on your own or you’re not prepared for it, that’s a big deal. You have to be prepared for things,” Adam explained.

Being prepared is a necessity, and it’s just one of many lessons Adam has gleaned over the years. While he’s learned a lot from his colleagues by example and at school, he concedes that knowledge must be followed up with action.

“Working with syndicators, I would say my biggest insight is that knowledge is power, but knowledge without action is nothing.”


About the Author:

Leslie Chunta is a marketing consultant with nearly 15 years of experience in creating dynamic marketing programs and building brands for startups to enterprise organizations. She has worked agency- and client-side with high-growth companies that include Silicon Valley Bank, JPMorgan Chase, SailPoint, EMC, Spanning Cloud Apps, Ashcroft Capital, Netspend, and Universal Studios.


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More Than a Side Hustle with Henry Lai

More Than a Side Hustle with Henry Lai

Henry Lai always knew that real estate would be more than just a passion project for him. So in 2018, he started his own real estate company while also working a demanding full-time job. Identifying his skills in developing corporate strategy and management consulting, Henry noticed that there was an opportunity for him to take these essential skills he’d learned and apply them in the field of real estate analysis.

His first investment began like many others — with a traditional house hack. After quickly realizing that this model had many benefits, Henry was able to apply the lessons he learned to additional investment opportunities.

“I mostly learned that being a landlord was quite a hassle and a lot to do, especially being out of state. Though, I would still start my journey by house hacking. You can learn a lot by being a single-family landlord,” Henry said. “I would even say instead of single-family house hacking, depending on the market that you’re in, I would probably get a fourplex because you learn a lot by managing a fourplex as well.”

Looking to grow his portfolio beyond active investments, Henry started attending real estate meetups and conferences to expand his network and identify potential mentors. After more than a year of attending different networking groups, Henry developed a deeper grasp of the advantages and disadvantages of various investment types. He then took the leap from single-family to multifamily and passive investing.

“I started learning more about multifamily investing, just kept networking with folks, started going to real estate conferences, and in doing so, I met a lot of folks who were doing multifamily real estate. I started thinking, ‘Well, you know what? I want to take more action than just passively investing,’” Henry shared. “I was passively investing in other people’s deals, but I was hoping to learn more about it and get my hands dirty and be part of the managing group. Through this, I was able to not only get into a number of passive investments but also become a general partner in six different deals now.”

As Henry has continued to grow his real estate business alongside his full-time career, building relationships has been critical. In addition to the connections he formed in the networking groups, creating partnerships with syndicators and other investors is pivotal to the success of both active and passive investments.

“Just like in most other business ventures, I think trust is so important,” Henry said. “You never really know how a real estate partner is going to be until you get into a deal with them, so I would advise developing that relationship over a number of years, a number of situations, and starting small in partnering with them rather than just getting into a large deal with them.”

Another relationship that is influential to Henry’s real estate investments is the one he has with his family. When he evaluates a new investment, he carefully considers the impact of a deal on his availability to his wife and two young children.

“I want an investment opportunity where I can be there and back in a day so that I can leave in the morning and then come back at night and still spend it with my kids. So I try to spend as little time away from my family as possible,” Henry said.

Throughout Henry’s real estate journey, he has learned the value of delayed gratification. Henry transitioned from investing in properties that deliver immediate cash flow to opening his portfolio to the less traditional real estate deals like new construction that may provide a return in years to come.

“Now, my lifestyle doesn’t really change if I get money immediately versus in five years, so I have learned to be a bit more risk-taking,” Henry said. “Sow your seeds today so that you can harvest in the future. A lot of investing is delayed gratification and remembering that delayed gratification actually helps people succeed.”


About the Author:

Leslie Chunta is a marketing consultant with nearly 15 years of experience in creating dynamic marketing programs and building brands for startups to enterprise organizations. She has worked agency- and client-side with high-growth companies that include Silicon Valley Bank, JPMorgan Chase, SailPoint, EMC, Spanning Cloud Apps, Ashcroft Capital, Netspend, and Universal Studios.


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Falling into Passive Investing with Jeff Anzalone

Falling into Passive Investing with Jeff Anzalone

What was supposed to be an adventurous and stress-free vacation led to a moment that changed the trajectory of Dr. Jeff Anzalone’s financial perspective. While enjoying a skiing trip with his family, another skier cut Jeff off as he was exiting a ski lift with his wife. Jeff swerved in an attempt to avoid injuring himself and the other skier.

The result was a badly injured wrist, which might seem like a minor injury to most skiers. However, Jeff Anzalone has been a periodontist for nearly 20 years, a profession that requires constant and steady use of both hands. For the first time, Jeff had been forced into the position of thinking about what his lifestyle would be like if he were unable to work.

“I knew that I needed to do something, but I had no clue where to start. I didn’t want to work more or longer hours. But I knew that I needed extra income streams. I had read some books from people that were successful, and I learned two things,” Jeff Anzalone shared. “Number one, 90-plus percent of millionaires had real estate in their portfolio. I had zero; besides my primary residence, I had none. The second thing, which was even more eye-opening, was that the average millionaire had anywhere from three to nine extra income streams. I had one.”

Jeff’s knowledge of real estate led him to believe that to be an investor you had to be a landlord, which automatically didn’t meet his criteria since it would require working longer hours. But after starting to network with other like-minded professionals, he discovered passive investments through syndications.

After starting with syndications in 2017, Jeff’s investment portfolio quickly grew. As he continued to broaden his investments, he asked other investors where they found deals and what avenues they used to help grow their knowledge. They repeatedly recommended networking conferences.

“The majority of the investors were saying that they had been to the Best Ever Conference, and it just kept coming up, so that piqued my interest,” Jeff shared. “I am always looking to learn. I eventually want to get to the point where I start doing my own deals once my kids are out of the house and I have more time, but right now, I want to just be a passive investor.”

When it comes to the conference experience, one fundamental difference separates the investor community from dental professionals: the openness to share information, lessons learned, and best practices.

“It’s been amazing how giving people are at those types of conferences and in real estate. I guess from all the training that I’ve had, whether that’s in dental school or my residency, everybody was trying to compete with everybody, so nobody would share anything. They always kept it to themselves,” Jeff said. “Then you get to somewhere like this and people are very open in sharing. It’s always in the back of your mind: ‘Why are you telling me this? What’s the catch?’ And it wasn’t a catch. I think most people realize, myself included, that we wouldn’t be where we are today if it wasn’t for other people and sharing information and helping people along.”

For other investors like Jeff Anzalone who are looking to broaden their network and expand their understanding of real estate, Jeff’s advice on how to approach the conference to get the most out of it comes back to identifying goals that you want to walk away from the event with.

“It can be a bit overwhelming, for sure. It’s best when you go with maybe two or three specific goals that you’re trying to accomplish, whether that be wanting to syndicate your first deal or meeting people to invest with,” Jeff reflected. “That way, you can figure out which person you should go listen to, or what networking event you should do.”

The next chapter for Jeff Anzalone in his investment journey has already started, thanks to the confidence and knowledge that he’s gained from the Best Ever Conference.

“Now that I have gotten into something that I’m really passionate about, I thought, well, how can I share this information, this journey, the path that I’m going down? So about three years ago, I did something that I never thought I’d do: I started a blog,,” Jeff said. “All that started out as the information I was learning and what I thought doctors and other busy professionals should know about educating themselves about passive income and real estate. It really has started to take off and allowed me to potentially get out of my practice within five years and go full-time into real estate.”


About the Author:

Leslie Chunta is a marketing consultant with nearly 15 years of experience in creating dynamic marketing programs and building brands for startups to enterprise organizations. She has worked agency- and client-side with high-growth companies that include Silicon Valley Bank, JPMorgan Chase, SailPoint, EMC, Spanning Cloud Apps, Ashcroft Capital, Netspend, and Universal Studios.


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From Motherhood to Multifamily with Kate Stephens

From Motherhood to Multifamily with Kate Stephens

Life with a child really changed Kate Stephens’s perspective on real estate. She got her to start investing in single-family homes when she lived in the United Kingdom, and after moving to the United States just 11 years ago, she continued to buy single-family homes as a way to establish and maintain financial security.

Once her daughter arrived, a new mindset began to settle in— Kate Stephens realized that single-family homes were time-consuming assets that only had value on a spreadsheet. The aspect of cash flow had never entered Kate’s mind before, but as the time it took to manage her growing portfolio of properties increased, the concept of cash-flowing investments that required less management became increasingly more attractive.

“After I had a kid, I realized that numbers on a spreadsheet don’t pay for the groceries very well, and I transitioned my thought process from acquiring capital and assets to pursuing cash flow,” Kate said. “Financial security is really important to me, but the paperwork is not. So going from investing in some single-family homes and some small multifamily units to just getting a K-1 and giving that to my accountants has been truly delightful.”

While being a dedicated mom is her number-one job, Kate Stephens also works for a medical device startup in the infectious disease space. Passive investments have played a fundamental part in her strategy to establish financial freedom and independence.

“There’s a lot of talk in the FIRE community around financial independence with a goal to pursue other interests. For me, as a mother, it’s much more visceral than that,” Kate said. “For me, that goal is, if anything ever happened to me, I want my family to be okay and for them to be able to stay in our home and to be able to focus. Or if my child suddenly developed some other needs or had an accident or an illness, that I could dedicate all of my time to whatever life might throw at me.”

She continues on her journey with clear goals in mind, which she chooses to pursue through passively investing in syndications. In addition, Kate Stephens continued to gain clarity and passion around her role as a passive investor by attending the Best Ever Conference in 2019, which she felt was a significant investment in herself.

“I still consider myself fairly new on this journey, so because this is my main investment strategy, I wanted to put time into learning to be a better passive investor,” Kate said. “It’s so funny because I sometimes go to conferences for work and I’m usually the one presenting. [At the Best Ever Conference] I felt like I was really on vacation, just being a guest, listening, and learning. That was lovely, having this kind of dedicated opportunity to learn in time that’s sort of carved out, where I’m not a mom or at work.”

Then in 2020, Kate returned for her second Best Ever Conference experience, this time as a virtual meeting. While naturally different from the in-person experience in Keystone, Colorado, the virtual conference gave Kate one of her most significant networking benefits of all.

“The Mini Mastermind group that was set up during the Best Ever Conference was really good. We’ve actually continued ours, so we still meet. That’s been the biggest gift from that virtual conference,” Kate shared. “Of course, there were interesting talks and pieces of learning, but the Mini Mastermind group, I think for me, was the biggest win.”

Kate uses opportunities like the Best Ever Conference to embrace learning in a fun environment, especially since the moments to do so for herself can be few and far between. Carving out time has to be intentional, just like seeking out knowledge to improve as an investor.

“The next piece of learning is becoming a better passive investor. For me, that involves connecting with more sponsors, understanding how they underwrite deals, and what their business growth plan is,” Kate said. “Then finding other investors and learning their success tactics.”


About the Author:

Leslie Chunta is a marketing consultant with nearly 15 years of experience in creating dynamic marketing programs and building brands for startups to enterprise organizations. She has worked agency- and client-side with high-growth companies that include Silicon Valley Bank, JPMorgan Chase, SailPoint, EMC, Spanning Cloud Apps, Ashcroft Capital, Netspend, and Universal Studios.


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Building a Healthy Real Estate Network with Chris Coleman

Building a Healthy Real Estate Network with Chris Coleman

As Chris Coleman originally planned his career path, he was driven by an avid interest in healthcare. Initially inspired by the clinical side of the industry, it didn’t take long for Chris to to realize that he wanted to trade in his dreams of a white lab coat to pursue a career on the business side of healthcare.

After earning a master’s degree in public health administration, Chris and his family made Washington, D.C., their new home as he climbed the ladder to become a partner in a specialized boutique consulting firm that helps enable healthcare organizations to meet regulatory requirements.

Beyond following his passion for healthcare, there was an additional benefit to working in this more focused environment — exposure to investing and an entrepreneurial mindset.

“We were always innovating into new business lines. Then, if it was successful, a few years later the new business line all of a sudden became a new subsidiary,” Chris said. “That was my upbringing in the business world. I thought, ‘Oh, this is entrepreneurial. This is what we do. We start new things and we invest in new things.’”

Investing in new things didn’t stop at new business lines for the consulting firm. After becoming a partner, Chris entered the world of earning distributions, pushing his income to a new level where he realized that he needed a responsible investment strategy.

“I didn’t grow up in a business family or anything like that. Quite honestly, I was making more money than I thought I would, and more money than I honestly knew what to do with,” Chris shared. “I wanted to do something to be a good steward and make it last, make it grow. Real estate attracted me for a couple of reasons. From the very beginning, I think I realized real estate was something that was more like a business.”

Chris started his investment journey like many investors do — with single-family homes. After achieving success in his early endeavors, he began investing passively in 2016, adding multifamily syndications to scale his business.

“… You need to have a mindset to run and grow [real estate investments] like a business. Especially when you’re getting into multifamily real estate, I mean, that is a business,” Chris said. “Even the way it’s valued is more like a business, not like a single-family home. And that’s what my experience was — business, you know? And so that really attracted me when I got into real estate.”

Entering 2019, Chris was becoming even more active in his multifamily syndication investments. Looking for ways to continue to grow as an investor, he saw the Best Ever Conference as one of the most notable opportunities to get involved in building his network and extending his industry knowledge.

“Everyone was convening at the conference, so it was a great opportunity to meet people. I had only met a lot of these people over conference calls —colleagues and folks that I’ve known for six months, a year, but who I’d never actually sat down and met in person,” Chris reflected. “You got to come together in person with someone that you’d probably been talking back and forth with on LinkedIn a hundred times.”

Beyond extending and deepening new and existing relationships, for Chris, the Best Ever Conference is also a golden opportunity to grow his knowledge from other investors, experts, and syndicators.

“No matter where you are, there’s always a learning curve. It’s not about trying to know everything. It’s working within whatever your strengths are, but there’s always more to learn, particularly when you’re talking about so many different areas of multifamily real estate,” Chris said. “Whether it’s working with investors, the whole asset management side of things, working with property managers, or whatever it may be. From that perspective and particularly everything we’ve come through in the last year, it’s a very interesting time to be in the real estate market.”


About the Author:

Leslie Chunta is a marketing consultant with nearly 15 years of experience in creating dynamic marketing programs and building brands for startups to enterprise organizations. She has worked agency- and client-side with high-growth companies that include Silicon Valley Bank, JPMorgan Chase, SailPoint, EMC, Spanning Cloud Apps, Ashcroft Capital, Netspend, and Universal Studios.


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Pearls of Opportunity with Whitney Elkins-Hutten

Pearls of Opportunity with Whitney Elkins-Hutten

COVID-19 is not the first public health crisis Whitney Elkins-Hutten has had to navigate in her professional career. With an education in public health and a fascination with epidemiology, she worked in Wyoming for the Center for Disease Control in 2002. There, she instructed public health officials on how to administer the smallpox vaccination and monitor for anthrax exposure and other bioterrorism elements. It was during this time that she also found herself house hacking, entirely by accident.

With her first property, Whitney realized the only way to stay financially afloat was to pack it with roommates. At the same time, the home needed significant cosmetic repairs that she didn’t have the cash to invest in. So, Whitney bought a book from Home Depot and became self-taught in refinishing floors, installing countertops, and hanging drywall.

“Fast forward 11 months later, I was still working at my public health job when I sold this house and made $52,000 in profit. But the cool thing is that I hadn’t been paying for rent the entire time,” Whitney reflected. “My roommates had offset my mortgage and had actually been putting money in my pockets. So I made way more than $52,000 in one year.”

This realization set Whitney’s real estate strategies into motion. Within two-and-a-half years, Whitney and her husband scaled to owning 30 units largely by utilizing the rehab strategy that had piqued her interest in real estate to begin with.

“I had already invested in passive properties with my self-directed IRA,” Whitney said. “I kept looking at these passive investments and the way they were performing in my portfolio, thinking, ‘Why don’t I just do this and not have to spend all this time and energy building it up actively?’ That’s really kind of where we made that huge switch from single-family investing into honest-to-goodness, passive investing.”

Just as she did with learning to refinish houses, Whitney saw the need to become more knowledgeable in the passive investment space. She began connecting with several mastermind groups to expand her network, which led her to attend her first Best Ever Conference in 2017.

“I thought I had done a lot of due diligence, and then you walk into an environment like that. I love being the dumbest person in the room. That’s exactly how I felt,” Whitney said. “From just different ways of investing, to how to actually interpret economic reports that are being put in front of you, you get a full understanding of all the education, network, time, and leverage that these operators build prior to the investment. It’s not just about putting a good deal out and running it.”

At the conference, Whitney found herself running into the same 20 women again and again, welcoming new conversations each time. One of those conversations happened to change the course of her professional career.

“I kept running into the same women the entire time, and one of them was Annie Dickerson. We met at the Best Ever Conference and hit it off. [Her business] Goodegg Investments was looking for somebody to come in and help out with some operational things and build up the investor relations side of the business,” Whitney said. “I wanted to get more involved on the active side of the deal just to expand my network, but I also wanted access to more deals. I figured that joining the team was a good way to get access to deals earlier in the pipeline.”

Almost three years later, as the Director of Investor Relations and Operations, Whitney continues to empower those who aspire to achieve financial freedom through passive investments. But the lessons learned at the Best Ever Conference remain an essential component that weaves into each of her investment strategies.

“Real estate is truly a relationship business. I think that’s hard to understand when you come from single-family investing because it’s so easy; you were the operator. The property management is a vendor when actually they should be treated as the business partner,” Whitney said. “But when you transition into multifamily real estate, or just these larger real estate deals, it’s really all about the various relationships and partnerships.”


About the Author:

Leslie Chunta is a marketing consultant with nearly 15 years of experience in creating dynamic marketing programs and building brands for startups to enterprise organizations. She has worked agency- and client-side with high-growth companies that include Silicon Valley Bank, JPMorgan Chase, SailPoint, EMC, Spanning Cloud Apps, Ashcroft Capital, Netspend, and Universal Studios.


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3 Questions to Ask Before Investing

3 Questions to Ask Before Investing 

Is this a good deal?

This is one of the questions every investor is trying to answer when evaluating real estate. There are calculators and rules of thumb to help people answer this question. However, the answer for one investor may be completely different for another. Many investors like to use key metrics like IRR, cash on cash, or equity multiple to determine if a deal is good, but we’ve already talked about why you need to stop using return projections for these decisions.

Let’s illustrate this with a quick example. Say you are evaluating an opportunity to invest in a multifamily property that was built in 2010 in a growing market. It is 94% occupied and has projected returns of 15% IRR, 8% annual cash on cash, and a 1.9 equity multiple.

Is this property a good deal?

Before you answer, understand that the question should be: Is the property a good deal for me?

Just because others think an investment is a good deal doesn’t mean it’s a good deal for you. Whether you make decisions based on a formula or your gut, you need to answer key questions first. Once you answer these, you will be able to decide if a deal is good for you.


1. Why am I investing?

Yes, I know you’re investing to make money, but you need to dig deeper if you want to be able to evaluate opportunities. What are you trying to solve? Are you looking to live off of monthly cash flow? Or is your primary goal to build long-term wealth? Maybe you just want extra income to pay for vacations, tuition, and other expenses.

If you want passive income, you may be disappointed with an investment that requires you to be actively involved, no matter what returns you are getting. Too many investors get into real estate for financial freedom and wind up with a second job instead. The clearer you are on the problem you want to solve, the easier it will be to find good deals.


2. What’s the business plan?

Once you are clear on your goals, determine the business plan for the properties you want to explore. Are you looking to buy and hold rentals? Are you looking for value-add properties? Or are you looking for a flip or distressed property to rehabilitate?

Each strategy has its pros and cons and should align with your investing goals. The business plan to carry out this strategy is critical to each deal. This is what separates a good deal from a bad deal. Good deals have a clear business plan and proof of concept for execution.

Let’s use our example property here. If the business plan is to perform cosmetic upgrades when residents move out, we can keep occupancy high, while bumping rents on the unit turns. We may be confident because three comp properties have similar finishes and amenities and are achieving the projected rents.


3. What could derail the business plan?

The last of these questions requires understanding the risk involved in the business plan. You need to understand what can derail the plan, how these risks can be mitigated, and your comfort level with the risk. If you’re doing a buy-and-hold investment, the biggest risk may be incurring a major repair. The best way to mitigate this is to have proper insurance and cash reserves set aside.

Going back to our example property, what if we’re not able to get the rent increases we hoped for? First, the ability to achieve these rents should have been confirmed in the business plan, but if something was missed or changes, you want to make sure you have a Plan B or other ways to mitigate the risk. You may decide to focus on the most important upgrades and only perform those instead.

Identifying the risk in the business plan allows you to proactively address it, making it easier to sleep at night. There isn’t a metric or formula that can calculate the importance of peace of mind. Maybe we should call it the new IRR for Inner Rest and Relaxation. When deciding if a deal is good for you, this IRR may actually be the most important metric.


About the Author:

John Casmon has helped families invest passively in over $90 million worth of apartments. He is also the host of the #1 rated multifamily podcast, Target Market Insights: Multifamily + Marketing. Prior to multifamily, John was a marketing executive overseeing campaigns for Buick, Nike, Coors Light, and Mtn Dew:


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How Do Wealthy People Become Wealthy? With Matt Nusbaum

How Do Wealthy People Become Wealthy? With Matt Nusbaum

After attending college in Ocean City, Maryland, Matt Nusbaum decided to move back home to Raleigh, North Carolina, carrying an idea in the back of his mind that he would one day work for Cisco Systems. His family happily worked there and the company offered excellent compensation packages — it was his dream job. Rachel, his wife, made the move as well and they both found jobs working in sales, but not at Cisco.

Less than two years later Matt and Rachel managed to get their feet in the door and they went to work for Cisco. Sticking with sales, their time with Cisco has taken them from Raleigh to Florida to Annapolis and supported them with generous compensation and supportive benefits. Yet, a question still lingered for Matt: How do wealthy people become wealthy?

“I always wanted to build financial freedom. When I first started working in the corporate world, I was researching in the evenings to learn how wealthy people become wealthy,” Matt Nusbaum shared. “I kept stumbling on real estate. So after three months of research on what the best avenue is, I stuck to real estate. I’d say it was probably another six to 12 months before we ever did something. But I ultimately realized I wanted to get into larger apartment investing.”

Economies of scale weren’t the only thing that attracted Matt to investing in multifamily syndications. Rachel’s father had some less-than-positive experiences with single-family rental properties and college students, leaving Rachel with a sour taste for real estate investing. After some conversation about the type of asset class and the benefits of passive investing, the Nusbaum family was on board to proceed with multifamily syndications.

After adding five syndications to their portfolio, Matt Nusbaum felt it was time to expand his understanding of the passive investment space, which he largely acquired from his consumption of podcasts, books, and digital networking. He committed to attend the Best Ever Conference in 2019.

“You can do a lot behind a computer. You can do a lot sitting at your desk, making phone calls, and sending emails, but nothing will replace meeting in person and building those relationships. Ultimately, real estate is a relationship business,” Matt said. “It comes down to who you want to partner with, and especially if you’re looking to get into larger commercial or apartment properties, you need a team around you. You can’t do it on your own— you’ve got to go out there and find the partnerships, and it starts with building a relationship.”

Matt’s network flourished unexpectedly both during and after the conference as he met many other like-minded individuals and found both learning and potential partnership opportunities.

“A lot of times, I found that a conversation may have felt like nothing at the time. Then a year later, they’re reaching out to me, the same conversation or the same person I spoke with. And they’re like, ‘Hey, we have this great opportunity. We’d love to partner with you.’ And one thing leads to another, and then the next thing you know, you’re a general partner on a large apartment deal,” Matt reflected. “And it’s all because you invested in yourself to fly out to Denver and you were committed to meeting and networking with other peers in the industry.”

Passive investments continue to be the way forward for Matt as he plans for financial independence. Just as he selected a corporate job with the overall well-being of himself and his family in mind, he continues to plan his investment portfolio to set him up for equal success and the freedom to choose what is best for his family at any point in time.

“Financial independence just comes down to having freedom: freedom of choices and freedom of time, and to spend the days the way we see fit. Whether that’s working in our corporate jobs and continuing to build and grow our professional career that way, or whether it’s starting a charity or finding some other avenue that we’re extremely passionate about that we want to work towards,” Matt shared. “It could even mean just spending more time with our kids and our family and doing whatever best suits our family and lifestyle.”


About the Author:

Leslie Chunta is a marketing consultant with nearly 15 years of experience in creating dynamic marketing programs and building brands for startups to enterprise organizations. She has worked agency- and client-side with high-growth companies that include Silicon Valley Bank, JPMorgan Chase, SailPoint, EMC, Spanning Cloud Apps, Ashcroft Capital, Netspend, and Universal Studios.


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Making the Move from Active to Passive with James Sumaya

Making the Move from Active to Passive with James Sumaya

There were several reasons for James Sumaya to head for the blossoming city of Denver, Colorado. Leaving Los Angeles meant an opportunity for him to be closer to family, and to experience a better cost of living and quality of life. But beyond these benefits, moving to Denver also opened a new field of professional opportunities, as well.

Over the last 10 years, James had worked with asset management firms overseeing real estate transactions involving a wide range of asset types including hospitality, office, industrial, multifamily, and retail, ranging from as small as $10 million to more than $100 million. After spending much of his career gaining broad but in-depth professional experience, the time had come for James to narrow his professional focus.

“Now that I’ve moved to Denver, I am working with a group that focuses only on doing multifamily deals directly with a value-add business plan. So I’m narrowing down from a broad focus, doing all types of assets and all manner of business plans, and now I have the opportunity to focus more on one asset type and in one market,” James said.

James had also become increasingly interested in multifamily syndications for his personal investments. Both his personal and professional goals aligned with a renewed passion in passive investing.

“I was really focused on finding reliable and stable cash-flowing investments with some opportunities for appreciation. I do own some investments directly and in the syndications. And I’ve debated where I want to focus my efforts going forward,” James shared. “Given my professional background, I certainly have the ability to pursue the direct approach, but it’s really difficult to beat the ease and simplicity of investing in a syndication with a good sponsor.”

As with many investors, James manages a diversified real estate portfolio with a combination of single-family assets and multifamily syndication investments. However, to James, each investment comes with a completely different approach to ownership.

“They each have their pros and cons. In syndications, you’re really vetting the sponsor more than anything else. If you end up with the wrong group, you don’t have any recourse to rectify that,” James said. “Whereas with the direct approach, you have more control, but you’re also dealing with all of the decisions, too.”

Managing the element of control between passive and active investments also has implications beyond the bottom line of your portfolio. For James, passive investments are an opportunity to build additional wealth without creating an additional job.

“It’s easier to do syndications when you’re working a more traditional day job because the attention required on those deals is so much lower than doing something direct,” James said. “If you move into that direct space, then you’re effectively creating another job for yourself. One that you’re in control of, but at the end of the day, it’s something that’ll require more time and effort and still have elements of being a day job in some manner.”

For James, genuine pride in real estate has come in the quality of his syndication portfolio, not necessarily the quantity of investments within it. His excitement for his future in real estate is woven into the diversity of assets, from the location all the way to the age of the investments. The depth of his portfolio also isolates the bottom line if a deal were not to perform as expected.

“My focus on syndications was born out of looking to hit a cash flow number. I think that a lot of people looking for financial independence have a number that they would like to hit,” James shared. “Continuing to find deals that will generate consistent cash flow will build a portfolio up to a level where you have some options for yourself to do something else and walk away from a traditional day job.”


About the Author:

Leslie Chunta is a marketing consultant with nearly 15 years of experience in creating dynamic marketing programs and building brands for startups to enterprise organizations. She has worked agency- and client-side with high-growth companies that include Silicon Valley Bank, JPMorgan Chase, SailPoint, EMC, Spanning Cloud Apps, Ashcroft Capital, Netspend, and Universal Studios.


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Meet Best Ever Conference Co-founder Ben Lapidus

Meet Best Ever Conference Co-founder Ben Lapidus

We sat down with Ben Lapidus, co-founder and host of the Best Ever Conference, to find out what he’s looking forward to most at BEC2022.

First, a little about Ben: He is the Chief Financial Officer for Spartan Investment Group LLC, where he has applied his finance and business development skills to construct a portfolio of over $300M assets under management from scratch, build the corporate finance backbone for the organization, and organize over $100M of debt capital from the firm.

In addition to completing over 50 real estate transactions at and prior to Spartan, Ben is the managing partner of Indigo Ownerships LLC. Before Spartan, Ben founded and sold a multimillion-dollar study abroad company and worked with several start-ups through IPO or acquisition. He graduated from Rutgers University with dual degrees in finance and economics, where he founded the Rutgers Entrepreneurial Society.

We asked Ben some questions about what to expect at this year’s conference — here’s what he had to say:


What are you most excited about for the BEC2022?

“What I’m most excited about is the opportunity that has presented itself in the operating environment for commercial real estate investors. Since this conference began in 2016, we’ve been talking about a market correction from which syndicators can execute a scaling strategy. For all of its destruction, the silver lining of the global health crisis is that it has accelerated or formed new trends that will allow for new creative investing and operating strategies.

“To take advantage of this for BEC2022, we are marrying all of our learnings from the past five years and compounding them with new partnerships. We are incorporating the components of virtual programming that worked in 2021, the networking that worked in 2020, the location that worked in 2019, and the late-night networking that worked in 2018. We have our biggest production budget yet to make sure it’s high quality, peak energy, and massive impact.”


Tell us about the experience. What can attendees expect?

“From the moment you register, you’re going to feel like you’re coming home. This is not a conference for beginner investors or tire kickers. Ninety-six percent of our attendees have transacted or invested in one or more commercial real estate deals in the last six months. There is no other conference with this kind of concentration of high-quality networking, and those who have attended before know that, so they treat every new handshake as an opportunity to make a new friend or partner. It’s an incredibly inviting atmosphere.

“When you first enter the main stage, you’ll be drinking from a fire hose. We like to start off the conference with back-to-back economic updates from those with access to massive datasets who are fantastic presenters. We’ll keep you well-fed and intellectually stimulated throughout the day so that you have the energy to carry the relationship-building into the evening where the real connections are made.

“You won’t find yourself avoiding the gaze of our sponsor tables as we’ve filtered them in advance and they’re likely to be highly relevant to your business or investing needs. Two years ago, we had a deal funded by a lender two business days after the connection was made at the Best Ever Conference.

“Finally, this will all take place at the newly built Gaylord Rockies in the peak winter season, which means you’ll have access to indoor water parks and some of the best skiing in the world.”


In your opinion, what are the top three reasons to attend the Best Ever Conference?

“Learn. Network. Invest. People come to the conference attracted to the speakers and subjects presented on stage, and this year will be the best yet. Our lineup is next level and with such a volatile year, there are endless subject matters to touch on to support the professional investor navigating the year ahead.

“But the true value that our audience walks away with is the networking, which ultimately leads to a new investment of dollars, time, or energy. Countless companies have been formed out of Best Ever connections, and hundreds of millions of dollars in capital have been placed in our community’s deals.

“And of course, we can’t forget the partying. If you are active in the syndication space, you’ve likely corresponded with dozens of folks who you’ve never met in person; the Best Ever Conference is the place to finally connect in person over a beer — or three.”


Any other exciting tips or best practices for attendees?

“Don’t set out to peddle an investment offering at the Best Ever Conference. There are dedicated spaces where that’s appropriate, and you can reach out to the Best Ever team if you’d like to take advantage of that. Rather, set out to make a few deep, high-quality relationships without an endpoint in mind.

“The deeper you can make a single relationship, the further it will carry your business or portfolio to success. Take the blinders off your periphery and identify how adding value to someone else’s life could creatively compound an outcome in yours. The more you learn about someone under a non-transactional premise, the deeper the reward will ultimately be.”


How will this year be better than ever?

“This year, we are leaning into the mantra, ‘collaboration beats competition,’ and partnering with several other communities outside of Best Ever to create an audience composition that will surely be the ‘best ever.’

“In partnering with investment groups, we are increasing the amount of available capital searching for real estate syndications. By partnering with other sponsor-facing organizations, we are increasing the exposure of high-quality commercial real estate sponsors to the passive investor community.

“Our audience might show up for the marquee content, but they leave pointing to the networking opportunities as the most valuable component of the experience. By investing in getting the right people in the room, we know more deals will get done, more capital will be placed, and more lifelong partnerships will form.”


How can attendees plan to make the most out of the Best Ever Conference?

“Set an intention — one relationship or one nugget of wisdom that you’d like to walk away from the conference with.”

To learn more or purchase your BEC2022 ticket, visit us at


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Passionately Unpassionate Investing with Toby Birdsell

Passionately Unpassionate Investing with Toby Birdsell

Toby Birdsell has always found himself where the action is. Three weeks after graduating from West Point in 2002, he married his wife Tricia, and they began their new life together as active members of the U.S. Army. Two years into their marriage, they were deployed on two separate tours of duty to Iraq in 2004 and 2005.

Following his service as an infantryman, Toby decided to transition to the business side of the U.S. Army, more commonly known as the Army Acquisition Corps. Since 2009, Toby has led a multitude of different modernization projects for the army, most recently leading a team responsible for the development of night-vision goggles.

With retirement near the horizon, Toby, whose undergraduate degree is in economics, has applied his passion for economics and personal finance to the way he thinks about his personal investment portfolio.

“I am fairly passionate about being unpassionate about investments. I believe in the tenets of modern portfolio theory and the efficient frontier and diversification,” Toby explained. “I don’t time the market. I don’t invest in specific stocks. I wasn’t with GameStop or Tesla. I try to avoid a lot of that noise.

“I take the path of being a long-term investor, knowing that, in the future, you’re going to have continuous appreciation just as the world at large continues to innovate and increase your earnings.”

Initially starting some 20 years ago with real estate investment trusts (REITs), multifamily syndications came onto his radar nearly three years ago.

“I’ve been investing in real estate for a long time, but I didn’t discover syndications until the last couple of years. It’s just been a great way just to diversify the overall portfolio as you’re looking at passive income streams,” Toby said.

Passive investing is the ideal vehicle for Toby’s real estate investments. However, when considering active investments, he acknowledges that time commitment and expertise are not his strengths. But when it comes to evaluating passive syndications, the time for due diligence is critical.

“I prefer just to be able to find good partners to invest in and let them run with it,” Toby said.“It definitely requires doing that due diligence early on, making sure that you find a syndicator that you trust, who has a good reputation and is someone that you’re comfortable putting a lot of money into.”

The second half of the due diligence process for Toby is not only in selecting a syndicator that he feels confident in, but also in feeling confident in the deals that they pursue.

“I spent a good amount of time reading prospectuses and listening to calls and all of the questions that were happening during webinars in order to understand what I was investing in and trying to understand the market, the location, and all those elements that go into what you’re investing your money in,” Toby shared.

“But once you invest your money, you’re making a long-term commitment to that syndicator that you’re not going to try to pull your money out, and you’re going to be a reliable investor.”

Passive investment income is an essential component of Toby’s retirement strategy. In fact, Toby and his wife Tricia aim to support their entire lifestyle solely off passive income by age 45. So, after a life full of adventures and new locations, Toby is looking forward to a retirement full of travel not associated with the military.

“We want to travel the world. We would love to live in New York City for six months or a year,” Toby said. “Maybe have a part-time job, but really just to have fun, explore the city, and take in the history, the people, the culture, and everything associated with it.”

Toby’s Best Ever advice for other investors:

“Remove emotion from your decisions and invest with partners that you trust,” Toby said. “I think between those two, most people will be well-off in the long run.”


About the Author:

Leslie Chunta is a marketing consultant with nearly 15 years of experience in creating dynamic marketing programs and building brands for startups to enterprise organizations. She has worked agency- and client-side with high-growth companies that include Silicon Valley Bank, JPMorgan Chase, SailPoint, EMC, Spanning Cloud Apps, Ashcroft Capital, Netspend, and Universal Studios.


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A Look Inside BEC2022 Headquarters: Gaylord Rockies Resort

A Look Inside BEC2022 Headquarters: Gaylord Rockies Resort

Don’t get us wrong— we’re definitely excited that the Best Ever Conference will be back in person in 2022. But we might be even more thrilled to be hosting the event at the vast 500,000 sq. ft. Gaylord Rockies Resort in Denver, Colorado. We’re looking forward to spending February 24–26 at this location for several reasons:


Setting the Scene

You’ll know you’re in Colorado the moment you enter the Gaylord Rockies for its classic Colorado rustic cabin décor. Guests can experience breathtaking views of the Rocky Mountains from the stunning 75-foot-tall atrium lobby windows. The resort truly captures the Rockies’ ambiance — waterfalls included.


Location, Location, Location

The Gaylord Rockies is a short 10-minute drive from Denver International Airport and is about 30 minutes from downtown Denver. For transportation options from the airport, there are taxis and rideshares such as Uber/Lyft, plus the Gaylord Rockies’ shuttles for guests traveling to or from the light rail station at 61st and Pena, located near the airport.


All You Can Eat

The resort offers an array of restaurants and bars on-site, including:


Mountain Pass Sports Bar

A casual spot with burgers, sandwiches, and a wall of craft beers on tap. There is a 75-foot big-screen TV in the bar to catch your favorite game on.



The hot-spot lobby bar and the perfect place to view the sunset from the Grand Lodge.


Old Hickory Steakhouse

Provides a more upscale vibe with high-quality beef, fresh seafood, and fine wines. This is a signature Gaylord Hotels restaurant that can also be found at other Gaylord properties.


Monte Jade

An eclectic Asian-themed restaurant and sushi bar.


Vista Montagne

Seasonally-inspired Italian cuisine.


Casual Grab & Go

Rockies Marketplace or The Cocoa Bean, which brews Starbucks coffee.


Winter Fun

Did we mention the pools and waterparks? The Gaylord Rockies Resort’s pools are open year-round, and the outdoor pool is heated through the winter, so it will be open in February when the conference takes place. Visit the Relâche Spa for luxury and relaxation, or the Relâche Fitness Center, which offers modern fitness equipment including Peloton bikes. The resort will also offer seasonal winter activities for guests — check back closer to the conference date for more details.


Ready to Book?

There are exclusive hotel room discounts for BEC attendees the week of the conference — check out the discounted ratesYou can also visit us at for more information about the BEC2022. We hope to see you this winter!


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Making IT Count with Mahee Makula

Making IT Count with Mahee Makula

Originally from India, Mahee Makula left his hometown in the early 1990s and trekked halfway around the globe to Stillwater, Oklahoma to pursue a master’s degree in industrial engineering and management. However, as he neared graduation he learned that jobs in his chosen field were not widely available. This prompted Mahee to make a quick pivot. Mahee turned to computer science and, upon graduating, took a job in the IT department at the General Motors plant in Kansas City, Missouri.

Over the next two decades, Mahee broadened his skill set and technical knowledge and relocated to Chicago. He became an expert in SAP (systems applications and products) software, an integral component of enabling businesses to manage finance, logistics, and human resource functions. And eventually, he decided it was time for him to step away from the corporate world and become a freelance consultant.

“Earlier in my career, I saw all of these politics within teams for career growth, like promotions,” Mahee said. “Since 2009, I have been getting my own projects. It gives me flexibility. I can take more vacation. It’s not just an old two-week vacation, either. If I want, between my projects, I can take a month-long vacation.”

A few years after establishing his freelance business, Mahee and his family decided to leave the big city in search of better schools. With this decision, the family found themselves moving to Naperville, Illinois, and Mahee became a landlord out of necessity.

“At the time, I couldn’t sell my old house, so I ended up keeping it and being a landlord for almost five years,” Mahee said.

“I had only one, a single-family, to maintain at the time. I had both good and bad experiences with the tenants. But then, in 2018, I started hearing about syndications through podcasts.”

Looking for diversification from traditional stock market investments, Mahee took his growing knowledge of the multifamily syndication market and began placing investments in 2019. Since then, he’s grown his portfolio to over six passive investments and is in a great place to balance being a real estate investor and freelance IT consultant.

“If there is someone, like me, who has a full-time job and they like their job, then passive investing is a good avenue to go,” Mahee said. “On some of these podcasts, the people keep saying, ‘The reason I moved to real estate is I didn’t like my job.’ That’s not the case with me. I like my job. So, I’m okay getting a tiny bit of ownership as a limited partner in the deals.”

As he considers additional investments in the future, Mahee’s philosophy of evaluating potential real estate offerings focuses mainly on the relationship with the syndicator, as well as completing his own course of due diligence.

“It’s like betting, not only on the horse but on the jockey. The jockey is important. Who you are investing with, and that their values align with yours —all of that is very important in picking investments,” Mahee explained.“You also have to do your own due diligence because each market is different, and each sub-market is different. You should remember these are not liquid investments like with the stock market where you can sell the investment if you don’t like it. It’s more like a long-term relationship with the syndicators.”

This holistic approach to real estate investing also has cemented Mahee’s confidence in real estate as a viable long-term asset for wealth building.

“There are still a lot of investors who are not exposed to syndications because of their lack of knowledge. I hope more people also diversify their retirement portfolios in real estate, either passively through syndications, or even actively,” Mahee said. “If you look at history, most millionaires have made their fortune through real estate.”


About the Author:

Leslie Chunta is a marketing consultant with nearly 15 years of experience in creating dynamic marketing programs and building brands for startups to enterprise organizations. She has worked agency- and client-side with high-growth companies that include Silicon Valley Bank, JPMorgan Chase, SailPoint, EMC, Spanning Cloud Apps, Ashcroft Capital, Netspend, and Universal Studios.


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How Mini Masterminds Set Investors Up for Success

How Mini Masterminds Set Investors Up for Success

In some of our previous blog posts about the Best Ever Conference, we’ve mentioned something called Mini Masterminds. These educational small-group sessions are a favorite among Best Ever Conference attendees, but how much do you actually know about them? Here, we’ve compiled everything you need to know about the Mini Masterminds experience and how it may be the key to reaching your business goals.


What Are Mini Masterminds?

Every year The Best Ever Conference welcomes the best-in-class real estate professionals who are looking to make an impact on their business. BEC2022 attendees have the exclusive opportunity to join our Mini Mastermind program once they register for the conference. These sessions are made up of small groups with 6–8 peers who meet virtually to connect prior to the conference. 

In these sessions, attendees will begin to learn from one another, share best practices, and continue to build relationships in an intimate setting. The groups meet monthly to discuss various real estate topics such as:

  • Business goals
  • Identifying opportunities
  • Marketing to the right audience
  • Networking and building connections
  • Preferred asset types
  • Strengths and weaknesses
  • Vulnerabilities and risk mitigation 


Who You’ll Meet

Mini Mastermind members enjoy the immediate benefit of networking with other BEC attendees, generating ideas to build their businesses, and receiving feedback and support. The sessions provide the rare opportunity to connect with other professionals in a way that fosters education and growth. What do you want to learn? Who do you want to meet? It’s a group that you will continue to grow with leading up to the conference.

Below are testimonials from just a few Mini Masterminds participants:


Andrea Weule of AC Investment Group

Andrea said, “I love being able to meet with a group of investors with different backgrounds from across the country. I’ve gained new insight into our investments. It’s great to be able to contribute to others’ success and pick their brains for ideas as well. Looking forward to continuing our relationships for years to come.”

Frank Rush of East West Property Management 

After completing his first meetup, Frank said,It seemed like a diverse group of entrepreneurs, and I am excited about the upcoming sessions and to eventually meet in person at the conference. I am sure there will be some great benefits that come from it all with the possibility of working directly with a member of the group on a future deal in some shape or form!”


Kris Kohlstedt

“The Mastermind has been a great networking tool allowing me to build deeper relationships than what I’d get in person in one meeting,” Kris said of his experience. “I get to ask questions and share in a group that I feel can provide great experience and knowledge to my obstacles in business.”


How You Can Get Involved

The Mini Mastermind program is included with the purchase of each BEC2022 ticket, and once you sign up, you will have the opportunity to start connecting with other attendees immediately. 

Participants who sign up now will have the opportunity to begin connecting early in the year and to continue to build these relationships well before finally meeting in person at the conference. The BEC team will coordinate your Mini Mastermind group with you and send out the invitation details.

Purchase your ticket to the Best Ever Conference today to see for yourself what you can gain from Mini Masterminds.


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From Internship to Partnership with Jenny Gou

From Internship to Partnership with Jenny Gou

It finally felt like the right time for Jenny Gou to take one giant leap away from her corporate life. She had spent 13 years as a sales director for Procter & Gamble working with some of the company’s most beloved brands, such as Dawn, Cascade, and Swiffer. But in February 2020, Jenny decided that it was time to move on to a new experience where she could blend her passions for helping others and real estate to create the next chapter of her professional career.

Jenny’s interest in real estate started in 2017 when she and her husband jumped into the industry with several single-family rentals in Cincinnati. Following a real-estate-focused meetup in the area, Jenny’s husband asked the meetup presenter, Steve Louie, to coffee, where the two continued to connect after the event. Jenny’s husband introduced her to Steve, and they quickly clicked and started working together.

“We spent the last 18 months working together doing underwriting,” Jenny said. “Steve let me help him manage some of his properties because he knew I had just left my corporate job. That was kind of like interning for him — I’ll call it an interview— really getting hands-on experience in the marketplace.”

Within 12 months, Jenny had narrowed her focus to acquiring properties and building her network while continuing to absorb all the knowledge she possibly could. During that time, Jenny acquired 950 units and started a real estate investing company, Vertical Street Ventures, with Stevie as her business partner.

Having opened their doors to investors in January 2021, Jenny is excited about their accomplishments thus far and what their team can continue to achieve in the future. But, for her, the real reward in managing a syn-dication portfolio comes in two forms: the ability to help others secure financial freedom and to continue their mission of educating others about real estate.

“I find a lot of passion and energy when I hear great things from our investors. A lot of folks we know are, at least in my network, maybe newer to real estate, and the biggest compliment that gets me going is, ‘Wow, thank you for spending the time to educate me on real estate,’” Jenny said.

The scalability and growth of the vertical Street Ventures group is another area of excitement, as the team is on track to exceed its goal of having $25 million in assets under management. The team is expanding as well, with three current employees and a steady roadmap to grow sustainably.

“Beyond Steve and I as the founders, we have an underwriter. He’s a former rocket scientist who is super, super intelligent. Sowe feels very good with his help on underwriting when we have a good property on our hands,” Jenny shared. “Then we will continue to expand. We will have someone coming to do marketing and more investor relations, and then more administrative help coming as well.”

Along with helping her find financial freedom through multifamily syndications, Jenny also found that Vertical Street Ventures and passive investing were the ideal scenarios to allow her to achieve the lifestyle goals that a corporate job wasn’t able to deliver.

“As much as I loved my corporate job, I just didn’t love the lifestyle that I had anymore, and that’s why I left and started this company. This new industry and this role allow me a lot more flexibility to leave my office at [3:00] to go pick the kids up and go to the park,” Jenny said. “It was just so much easier and less stressful because I had more flexibility, and that is what I want for our investors.

“And everyone can get there. It just starts with one thing. Start with your goals and priorities, and that’s your vision. Then consider the strategies and the tactics to get there. Passive investing is the strategy to get to whatever your vision is for how you want to spend your time.”

Combining vision and action creates what Jenny believes is the foundation for setting yourself, a business, or an investment up for success.

“I always tell people just to take action because you can learn, you can read, you can go to meetups all day long, listen to podcasts — but nothing happens until you actually do something,” Jenny reflected. “Just go take one small step somewhere, and then it’ll blow up into something bigger.”


About the Author:

Leslie Chunta is a marketing consultant with nearly 15 years of experience in creating dynamic marketing programs and building brands for startups to enterprise organizations. She has worked agency- and client-side with high-growth companies that include Silicon Valley Bank, JPMorgan Chase, SailPoint, EMC, Spanning Cloud Apps, Ashcroft Capital, Netspend, and Universal Studios.


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A Team Mentality with Mikhail Avady and Sophia Li

A Team Mentality with Mikhail Avady and Sophia Li

It could have been just another day for Mikhail Avady at the Atlanta Technology Village. As a hub for growing startups, Atlanta Technology Village was a frequent stop for MBA students at Emory University. That day, an entrepreneurship professor asked Mikhail if he would be available to give a tour to a group of incoming students. Little did he know, Sophia Li, his future wife, would be one of his tour guests.

After successfully mastering the educational realm, earning a collective three master’s degrees between them, Sophia and Mikhail each have their own flourishing professional career. Sophia is a senior sales engineer for a technology company, while Mikhail is a senior executive at a thriving tech startup creating a dynamic conversational text marketing platform. However, beyond their professional success, their shared passion and ownership in real estate investments allow them to grow and flourish together.

Sophia was the first to take a step into real estate in 2016 by purchasing a single-family home in the Atlanta area at just 25 years old.

“I bought my first single-family rental home partially because of the influence from my parents because I’m from China; Chinese people love real estate a lot,” Sophia said. “I was renting an apartment at that time because my rental property was in the suburbs.”

Shortly after Mikhail saw Sophia’s investments in real estate, he began to explore investment options, as he was looking for a way to diversify his assets beyond cryptocurrency. He had familiarity and comfort with the cryptocurrency market since he had previously started and run a cryptocurrency mining farm. Therefore, real estate was a logical choice for both Sophia and Mikhail to use as a wealth-building asset.

“We wanted to make a slow but consistent investment into single-family, and we didn’t want to overexpose in some of the other assets, so we were looking for other areas of investment,” Mikhail said.“We have some friends that are builders, and it became apparent that the more doors you have, the more you can scale. But we don’t have the time to do any of that. So we thought, ‘Where else can we put money into real estate?’”

Today, they manage both single-family and multifamily syndications. Operating as a team, they evaluate all current and potential investments while bringing their unique points of view and different risk tolerances to the table.

“We have very different risk tolerances,” Sophia said.

“I do our risky stuff; she does our safe stuff,” Mikhail shared. “She keeps me from making stupid investments, and I think sometimes I try to push her into some.”

Aside from their difference in risk tolerance, Sophia and Mikhail are united in their ability to look at real estate from a long-term perspective. So much so, that when they purchased their current home, they planned from the beginning to move out and turn it into a rental property after two years.

That timeline has since moved up as the couple will be welcoming their newest tenant, their first baby, in October.

“When we bought our house, a townhouse, we were considering it not only a primary home but also as a rental after two years,” Sophia said.“That’s why we’re doing a renovation on one of the rentals I bought. We’re going to renovate and move there because it’s a bigger single-family house, while we’re going to rent our current townhouse out. But it’s good because we prepared for this to be a rental.”

Sophia and Mikhail also are aligned in their strategy to diversify their investment portfolio to include passive investing as a vehicle to help them reach their long-term investment goals.

“We have a certain amount of passive income that we want to reach, and this is one of our strategies towards getting there,” Mikhail said.

“I think our long-term goal is probably to have a good amount of passive income, so we don’t need to worry too much about the future, and to have the freedom of choice,” Sophia said. “I feel like I’m most confident about real estate because it’s stable, long-term, and it generates equity.”


About the Author:

Leslie Chunta is a marketing consultant with nearly 15 years of experience in creating dynamic marketing programs and building brands for startups to enterprise organizations. She has worked agency- and client-side with high-growth companies that include Silicon Valley Bank, JPMorgan Chase, SailPoint, EMC, Spanning Cloud Apps, Ashcroft Capital, Netspend, and Universal Studios.


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Building in the Big Leagues with Brian Noel

Building in the Big Leagues with Brian Noel

Serial investor Brian Noel reflects on why— and how —he made the switch from single-family investments and a corporate career in sales to become a general partner on his own multifamily property.

During 40 years in sales, Brian Noel escalated his role into management positions. At one point, he was managing more than 4,000 people globally, spending much of his time bouncing between airports, and from one hotel to the next. But from day one, Brian had an interest in real estate as an investment strategy.

Real estate investment started for Brian as it does for many investors: in the form of single-family homes. On the hunt for appreciation, the timing of the market in the ’80s and ’90s wasn’t right, so Brian liquidated all his properties and invested in the stock market. After riding the highest of highs, then ultimately crashing into the lows by losing everything in 2000, it was back to the drawing board to find alternative investments to generate additional wealth.

“In 2005, as I’d moved throughout my career to different companies, I wound up with about a half-dozen different IRAs and was trying to figure out how I could consolidate those and seek alternatives beyond just the stock market to invest in,” Brian shared. “I discovered there was something called a self-directed IRA. So I put all of the retirement money I had into a self-directed IRA account and then used that to buy a rental property.”

Brian eventually sold the property and used the equity to purchase eight townhouses and condos.

“Instead of looking for appreciation, I was looking for cash flow… [so that I could] then use the extra cash to pay the mortgage down as fast as possible. Then in 2019, I kept looking at how much money I was paying every month in HOA fees and decided it might be better if I got rid of all these properties and went more into building,” he said.

Today, Brian is a general partner on his own 280-unit Class C multifamily apartment building in Houston, Texas. While his investment journey brought him to this point, it was his experience with the teams of people along the way that made it fulfilling and drove his excitement to continue investing this way.

“There are seven of us on the team. And it’s been an interesting journey to go through this because everybody has different experience levels in multifamily investing. There are a couple of people who are very experienced; they’ve been [general partners] on five, six, seven deals and have gone full cycle on a few deals,” Brian said. “Then there are other people, like myself, who are still what I would consider sort of a new general partner.”

As Brian has experienced growth in both professional and investing aspects of his life, he now finds joy in helping others get started and find their way on their investing journeys.

“I’ve had the chance to build teams, and then I’ve been an individual salesperson going out to focus on my own deals as well,” Brian reflected. “So at one point or another, I’ve kind of done it all, but for me, at this stage of life, it’s fun to be a part of a team and give back and help other people.”

Equally as crucial to building a team is being a productive part of one. Having the opportunity to have been a leader at prominent companies throughout his career as well as being a part of an investment decision-maker group, Brian firmly believes that communication and transparency are non-negotiables that must come with any individual into a team setting.

“When you’re taking other people’s money, you have to be incredibly conscientious about the fact that they’re trusting you with their hard-earned dollars. And, for me personally, I’m more worried about other people’s money than my own,” Brian said. “I also think you’ve got to communicate. And honestly, if you step back and think about it, there’s always something you can say, right? So just staying visible and staying in front of your investors, I think, is very important.”

Brian’s essential enjoyment and passion for real estate are at the foundation of all his investments that allow him to continue building his income.

“You do have to be willing to roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty. You’ve got to enjoy it and you’ve got to be passionate,” Brian noted. “If you don’t want to do that and you don’t enjoy it, and you’re not passionate about it, then you shouldn’t do it.”


About the Author:

Leslie Chunta is a marketing consultant with nearly 15 years of experience in creating dynamic marketing programs and building brands for startups to enterprise organizations. She has worked agency- and client-side with high-growth companies that include Silicon Valley Bank, JPMorgan Chase, SailPoint, EMC, Spanning Cloud Apps, Ashcroft Capital, Netspend, and Universal Studios.


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5 Bad Habits That Are Costing You Money When Investing

5 Bad Habits That Are Costing You Money When Investing

If you want to know how to save money, it’s also important that you understand how not to save money. While you can follow top investing tips, read blogs, and listen to industry-leading podcasts, it won’t help you hit your investment and savings goals if your bad habits are costing you money.

The difficult part is that, oftentimes, we don’t even know when we have these bad habits, let alone how we can break them. Whether you follow the stock market, invest in real estate, buy mutual funds, or you’re trying to build a more robust savings account, bad habits can harm your finances in the long run.

Whether you struggle with financial temptation or rely on credit cards a little too much, here are a few bad financial habits that can cost you money when you’re investing.

1. You spend more than you earn.

It’s a poorly kept secret that credit cards and credit lines often lead to vicious cycles. It often goes like this: You start by spending a bit too much of your paycheck. Then, to navigate ongoing expenses and costs, you have to rely on your credit card. Unfortunately, this traps you into high-interest-rate debt. This can derail savings goals, eat up your paychecks, and cost you a lot of money over the years. So, if you’re ready to start investing, the best way to hit your financial goals is to stop spending more than you earn.

Often, this means you need to sit down and review your spending habits and how those align with your long-term goals. Start by looking at your spending over the last year and how much money you have in your bank account. In some cases, a great way to hit your savings goals and continue investing is to cut down on unnecessary expenses. These include retailer subscriptions (such as Amazon Prime or your gym membership), credit card debt, and discretionary spending. You can also set a tighter budget for your groceries, use more coupons, and look for discounts. It’s a great option that often equates to “free money” in a sense.

For some people, however, this may even mean that you need to earn more money. If you don’t have enough money to tackle your credit card debt, invest in a retirement plan, and consider index funds or individual stocks, you need to find ways to earn money. A simple way is to invest in a part-time job or a side hustle. This will impact the amount of money you make in the short term and help you grow your portfolio in the long term.

2. You’re not prepared for emergencies.

If you don’t have an emergency fund, it’s a good idea to set one up. Even if you have automatic savings and a robust retirement plan, there are plenty of ways that unexpected expenses can derail your savings account, short-term goals, and financial success. At a minimum, many financial advisors and experts recommend saving a few months’ worth of expenses to navigate job loss, medical bills, or other emergency expenses. Then, if you have to replace your water heater or pay unplanned utility expenses, you’ll be prepared.

While you don’t need to contribute to this account at regular intervals, you should always review it at regular intervals, determine when it needs more or less money, and take note of your account averages.

3. You’re missing out on tax breaks.

If you’re not using the right financial products for your taxable income, it might be time to hire a financial planner and review your past performance regularly. Often, your tax refund is the easiest way to find additional money each year. With an experienced financial advisor, you can find tax break opportunities and get a good deal on your tax return each year. This helps preserve your hard work during each fiscal year and helps you reap the rewards in the near future.

The government even offers tax-advantaged accounts that are great for someone looking to build a diversified portfolio. They offer IRA (individual retirement account) and 401(k) options. It’s a good idea to review your current retirement savings and taxable brokerage account to ensure that it’s helping you build wealth. If not, it won’t require a lot of time to correct, though this should be your top priority.

4. You tap into your retirement accounts too early.

The bottom line is that a little bit of greed now can cause you a lot of grief in the next year. A sound piece of financial advice: Don’t pull from your retirement savings accounts unless you absolutely have to. You shouldn’t treat a retirement account like a payday advance opportunity. Even if you’re using that money to purchase financial products or look into the real estate marketplace or stock market investing, you’ll still face higher interest rate penalties. You also miss out on those financial growth opportunities.

The first thing you need to keep in mind about these accounts is that you should leave your money invested at all costs. Unless you have no other options for securing funds, this route carries too much volatility, and it can take you a long time to rebuild. If you’re facing true financial hardship over the course of a year, you may want to reach out to a professional in the financial world to discuss early withdrawal options.

5. You’re impatient with diversification.

An easy way to cost yourself money while investing is to get impatient. While nobody has a great time watching a low-cost index fund or a Roth IRA underperform, you need to focus on the essentials and your portfolio’s overall goals. The downside is that it’s understandably difficult to stay the course, but you must do your due diligence and avoid tinkering with your portfolio in a reactionary way.

Next Steps

If you’re ready to learn more about how to manage your finances while you’re investing, the first step is to join the Goodegg Investor’s Club. With helpful insights on anything involving U.S. investing, from equity to ETFs, the Goodegg team can help you ditch your bad financial habits and invest in financial products that can help you hit your goals.



About the Author:

Annie Dickerson and her partner Julie Lam are founders of Goodegg Investments — an award-winning real estate private equity firm — and creators of the Real Estate Accelerator Mentorship Program. They are authors of the book Investing For Good and hosts of the popular Life & Money Show podcast:


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5 Colorado Travel Tips for the 2022 Best Ever Conference

5 Colorado Travel Tips for the 2022 Best Ever Conference

Who’s ready for some après ski? Best Ever Conference attendees often use the conference as an opportunity to vacation in Colorado either before or after the conference. It’s truly the perfect winter adventure to get your team together before or after the BEC, or even for inviting your family and friends to join. Let’s face it, this past year has caused us to pause many of our vacation plans, and we’re all eager to get back out and create some exciting experiences. With that in mind, we’ve put together our top Colorado travel tips to help you make the most of your stay.


1. Pack your gear.

If you are planning on venturing outside of Denver, don’t forget to pack your snowboard, skiing, or sledding gear. Some of the most popular ski resort towns in the world are located in Colorado such as Aspen, Breckenridge, Keystone, Telluride, and Vail. These ski towns offer incredible resorts located close to town, as well as shopping, restaurants, and other winter activities.


2. Book early.

It’s certainly not too early to book your ticket and travel plans for the upcoming BEC. You won’t want to catch a case of travel FOMO by skipping out on your opportunity to secure your spot and travel accommodations. Hotels and vacation rentals start booking in the summer for the upcoming winter season, and since this year is the year of travel, many vacationers are securing their winter lodging already — especially the ski-in/ski-out homes.


3. Remember your lift tickets!

In addition to booking your stay, it is highly recommended to book your lift tickets in advance as their prices are expected to increase throughout the year. Those who purchase lift tickets early always receive the best discounts, and they avoid the risk of waiting until the resorts sell out.


4. Explore Denver.

Interested in staying local in Denver? There’s plenty to experience in the Mile High City. Did you know Denver brews more beer than any other city? Denver’s downtown area offers a wide variety of brewpubs, eclectic restaurants, and world-class galleries and museums. Another popular location to explore is the artsy hotspot neighborhood River North Art District (RiNo).


5. Snag an exclusive resort discount.

The BEC is offering limited exclusive discounted rates at the Gaylord Rockies Resort for attendees. The Gaylord is extremely convenient for travel as it is just minutes from Denver International Airport. The rustic resort is the perfect retreat for a winter vacation — indulge in tranquility at the resort spa, indoor and outdoor water complex, and lazy river, and soak in the picture-perfect views of the nearby Rocky Mountains.


There is so much to look forward to this winter at the BEC, and with these Colorado travel tips in your back pocket, you’re sure to have an incredible time both in and outside of the conference. Secure your spot today by visiting


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Growing Overseas with Jennifer Bourdeau

Growing Overseas with Jennifer Bourdeau

For some professionals, the opportunity to relocate for a career is an exciting next step on their path to success. However, when Jennifer Bourdeau chose not to relocate for her career in the hotel industry, it led to an even more fulfilling adventure. She had always wanted to obtain an MBA degree, and with a reluctance to move for her job, she decided that the time to earn it was now.


Education Abroad

Accelerating her timeline, Jennifer Bourdeau started evaluating MBA programs, not only across the United States but across the globe. She enjoyed travel and realized that she might as well create an experience as she furthered her education. Jennifer landed on a year-long intensive MBA program located in Nice, France. Eleven years later, she remains based in the South of France where she is building her career and future.

“I decided to stay. I thought, ‘Okay. Let me give it a go. I will stay in France and try to find a job,’” Jennifer reflected. “I ultimately found a great job working in the travel industry, but in technology for travel.”


Financial Clarity

Jennifer Bourdeau was focused on building her professional acumen and career in France as a business consultant in product marketing, working with teams all across the globe. Throughout this period of growth, she sat down to examine her finances, which she was convinced weren’t enough.

“I took a look at my finances, and I realized that I had financial clarity. I thought, ‘Wow! I’m in a good position.’ Before that, I had always had this scarcity mindset. I didn’t have enough money. I needed to keep saving it,” Jennifer said. “I realized that I’m pretty comfortable right now and I can take some risks. And this aggressive saving that I had been doing had given me some options. One of the options was to say, ‘You know what? I’m going to take a break from the corporate world and try out something new.’”


Becoming a Full-Time Investor

At the end of June, Jennifer Bourdeau will be transitioning out of her corporate role and into a role that is solely focused on generating wealth and allowing her to make the most of her time: a full-time real estate investor.

Real estate was something that Jennifer dabbled in before leaving the United States. In 2007, she purchased a home that had significant equity in it. To ensure that she could continue owning it, unbeknownst to Jennifer, she started house hacking to pay the mortgage. Since then, her passion for real estate has only grown.

“When I moved to France, I became a passive landlord. I just rented the whole property with a property manager. I’ve done two new-build villas. We’ve also rented them seasonally. So that created quite a bit of income and a bit of work as well on our side to manage those rentals,” Jennifer shared. “I like active investing because it’s a direct reward and a direct reflection of my efforts. So every penny that is made, it’s because I did something well. Every penny that’s lost is because I did something wrong.”


Building a Team

Last year, Jennifer Bourdeau continued to diversify her real estate portfolio by investing in multifamily syndications. As she started in this new arena of investment, she realized that she needed to surround herself with individuals and operators who would help fill in the gaps in her real estate savvy.

“When I discovered passive investing, I had no team. I was so clueless. So I just consumed as much content as I could. I spent a really good amount of time upfront educating myself and learning who the players were in this space,” Jennifer said. “And from there, I started to create a little network. I discovered some investor groups. That is my team— these other investors.”


A Better Path to Success

Jennifer’s investor network is now more than one thousand people strong, with several hundred actively engaged in providing insight and best practices along the way.

“Now, my aim is more about creating wealth without creating a job. It’s been valuable to have insights and expertise and learning through sophisticated, experienced investors,” Jennifer reflected. “I just became disillusioned with this boomer’s dream where you go to college, you get a job, you buy a house, you get married, you stay dedicated to a company for so long, and then you retire at 65. I just realized there was a different way, a different path to get where I want.”



About the Author:

Leslie Chunta is a marketing consultant with nearly 15 years of experience in creating dynamic marketing programs and building brands for startups to enterprise organizations. She has worked agency- and client-side with high-growth companies that include Silicon Valley Bank, JPMorgan Chase, SailPoint, EMC, Spanning Cloud Apps, Ashcroft Capital, Netspend, and Universal Studios.


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Learn From These 6 Investing Mistakes

Learn From These 6 Investing Mistakes

While real estate investing can be incredibly lucrative, these investments come with the risk of moderate or even significant financial loss. Often, investing mistakes are tough lessons that come with a high price tag, but you don’t necessarily have to learn those lessons through your own experiences.

United Property Group Founder Dan Gorman has been investing in real estate for more than 22 years, and he has purchased more than $50 million in commercial real estate. Currently, he owns apartments, office space, and a few restaurants. While Gorman has enjoyed incredible success as an investor, he has also lost an extensive amount of money through mistakes with multifamily and commercial real estate. What can you learn from Dan Gorman?


1. Trusting Others With Skin in the Game

When Gorman reflects on some of his biggest financial losses and investing mistakes, he attributes them to not understanding the deals fully and relying on the advice of others. For example, many years ago, he was under contract to purchase a 120-unit apartment complex. The deal was complicated with financing involving bonds, low-income tax credits, and other unique sources of capital. Gorman admits that he did not understand the deal fully. He relied on the advice of others who told him it would be a profitable deal, but those individuals all stood to profit from the transaction. Gorman believes that they were advising him with their own agendas in mind.

Before closing, Gorman rightfully got cold feet. He tried to back out even though he stood to lose a large chunk of money at that stage in the transaction, but his attorney advised him that he could be sued for not following through. Ultimately, Gorman went through with the deal, and he lost a substantial amount of money for many years on end until he sold the property recently.


2. Failing to Understand the Transaction

Gorman recalls specifically asking his real estate attorney about one key aspect of the transaction, and his attorney could not explain that component of the transaction to him. In hindsight, Gorman realized that if an attorney who works with real estate transactions on a daily basis could not understand the structure, this should have been a red flag.

He warns others never to get involved with land contracts, lease options, bond financing, and other situations that are over their head. Take the time to understand all aspects of the transaction fully before committing to it.


3. Relying on Projections

This particular project was a rehabilitation project that involved putting $2.5 million into the property. The rents were below market value with a two-bedroom unit at the time renting for $650. The projection used by underwriting was $750 per month for these units. Gorman’s attorney advised him that the underwriting projections were too aggressive and that they may not be realistic.

Initially, Gorman saw dollar signs and ignored his attorney’s advice. However, he realized as the closing date approached that his attorney may have been right. This realization came too late because Gorman already had $250,000 of hard money invested in the deal. He has learned to use conservative, realistic projections that are based on actual market data.


4. Failing to Understand Contract Terminology

Ultimately, the 2008 real estate crisis led Gorman to go into default on the apartment complex. While he was not behind on payments, the lender backed out of the financing. The only option he realistically had was to file for bankruptcy. However, even though the multifamily property was owned in a protected entity, the bankruptcy triggered defaults in other investments that Gorman owned. Essentially, this one bad deal triggered the collapse of his investment portfolio.


5. Not Understanding the Tax Implications

In addition to dealing with the ramifications of bankruptcy and losing money on this 120-unit multifamily complex transaction, Dan Gorman was hit with a huge tax bill when he ultimately sold the property 15 years later. While he sold the property for exactly what he paid for it, he realized a net profit of $1.5 million. This was a surprise to him, and he states that he still does not fully understand how the calculation was made. Because of this net profit, however, he is now struggling to find a way to mitigate his tax liability with only a few months left in the tax year.


6. Overlooking Building Permits

This is not the only project that has provided Gorman with major life lessons. One of the more recent lessons that he has learned is tied to an office building that he rehabbed. He met with the building inspector and an official from the fire department to discuss his plans for the project, and they both told him to move forward with it. Through a miscommunication, Gorman believed that a permit was not required to do the work. Now, he is backtracking in an attempt to pull together all of the documents related to the permit. Unfortunately, this opened up a can of worms related to maximum occupancy, usage, and more. The project seemed fairly straightforward initially, but it has become overly complicated because he is dealing with the permit application process midstream.


Through his investing mistakes, Dan Gorman believes that residential real estate is easier to invest in than commercial real estate, but both require diligence. He is happy to discuss his investing mistakes with others in the hope that they may learn from them. At the same time, he acknowledges that he still has lessons to learn. Nonetheless, the mistakes that he has made have made him a more conservative, cautious investor.


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The First Timer’s Guide to the Best Ever Conference

The First Timer’s Guide to the Best Ever Conference

With a name like “Best Ever,” it’s easy to get excited, and maybe even a little intimidated, about attending your first Best Ever Conference. You might be wondering what makes it the best ever, and how you can get the most out of this conference. And we want to help!

That’s why we’ve developed our First Timer’s Guide for your first Best Ever Conference to ease your mind and help you get the most value out of your time.


How the Best Ever Conference Is Designed

The Best Ever Conference, known throughout the commercial real estate industry as the BEC2022, is designed specifically for commercial real estate professionals to focus on relationships and education that will directly impact growth for both you and your portfolio.


Our Speakers

Our speaker selection process isn’t about who we know, it’s about what YOU want to know!

Our team listens to and actively engages with commercial real estate investors like you all year round to ensure we stay at the forefront of the commercial real estate investing industry, choosing speakers with expertise and topics that you want to learn about most.

Past speakers have included industry giants such as:

And more importantly, past topics have included:

  • How to Scale Your Syndication Business
  • Lessons in Becoming a Better Leader
  • How to Build a Powerhouse Investing Team, and
  • Multiplying Your Real Estate Portfolio


Here are some tips for getting the most out of your time at the BEC2022:


Before the Conference

In the weeks leading up to the conference, take some time to create a game plan for your experience. Consider who you want to meet, which services and vendors you might be interested in learning more about, and what topics and insight will be most valuable to you and your goals.


Set Your Speaker Session Lineup

First, we encourage you to check out the BEC2022 speaker lineup on our website at We will update the conference website regularly as new speakers are confirmed.

Research each of the BEC2022 speakers before the conference. Get to know who they are, what they bring to your table, and the type of information that will be presented. Consider how this information can help you grow your business and portfolio.

It is also a good idea to make note of any questions that come up during your research that you would like to ask the presenters.

Now, break the different speaker sessions into three categories to set your custom speaker session schedule:

  • Must attend
  • Would like to attend
  • Don’t need to attend


Shortlist Your Exhibitor Interests

Another good way to make the most of your time at your first Best Ever Conference is to take a look at the exhibitors that will be present. Which exhibitors do you want to learn more about?

Next, go ahead and make a shortlist of the exhibitors you’re most interested in and keep this in your back pocket to make the most of your downtime between sessions at the conference.


At the Conference

Balance Your Time

As with most conferences, the top three things you’ll do at the BEC are learn from speakers, network with speakers and other attendees, and browse the exhibitor booths. To get the most out of the Best Ever Conference, you’ll want to strike a balance for the way you spend your time.

Set your speaker schedule into your calendar with locations and reminders so you’re never late to your “must attend” speaker sessions.

During your “don’t need to attend” sessions, try to make your rounds to the exhibitors based on your preparations. Spread these visits out to allow for plenty of time to take care of your basic needs and stay comfortable, fresh, and energized throughout the conference.

And last but certainly not least, plan to spend the rest of your time networking with speakers and other conference attendees.

Most likely, you’ll have questions for the “must attend” speakers — either prepared questions from your pre-conference recon or questions that came up during the presentation. Here is an insider tip: Don’t try to talk to the speaker immediately after their presentation. That’s when everyone is going to want to talk to them and you’ll spend a lot of time waiting in line or look like a weirdo running up to them to get to the front of the line. Instead, talk to them between sessions, at private events, and in the additional group events and parties that will take place at night.

All Work and No Play — Not Us!

Lastly, we’re excited to announce that the BEC2022 will be held at the Gaylord Rockies Resort in Denver, Colorado.

Many BEC attendees use the conference as an opportunity to vacation in Colorado either before or after the conference — skiing and snowboarding are the most popular activities. If this is the case for you, don’t forget to pack your snowboard, skiing, or sledding gear!


After the Conference

The value from the BEC doesn’t stop at the end of the conference, it only continues. The relationships you will develop and the knowledge that you take away can be implemented immediately and last a lifetime.

If you haven’t already, check out to learn more about the Best Ever Conference and reserve your ticket today. Check back often for updates, and we’ll see you at the Best Ever Conference in February 2022!




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Big Goals in the Big Apple With Melissa Jameson

Big Goals in the Big Apple With Melissa Jameson

With big goals for her professional development and real estate portfolio, Melissa Jameson shares how nurturing the growth in others has helped her thrive in both.


On the Move

After growing up in Connecticut, Melissa Jameson decided it was time for a total change of scenery. She moved to California to earn an undergraduate degree in political science from the University of San Diego before crossing the continent again to land in Washington, D.C., where she would work on Capitol Hill while also obtaining her master’s degree from George Washington University.

While in Washington, D.C., Melissa earned a job as an advisor to the Department of Justice, where she worked closely with the FBI and DEA on money laundering investigations. She continued to excel in a constantly evolving field, providing investigative support and specialized knowledge to support active federal criminal cases and help the government “follow the money.” That is, until 2014 when an opportunity presented itself to join PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Financial Crimes practice in New York City— somewhere she had always dreamed of living.


Becoming a Real Estate Investor

With her new job away from Washington, D.C., she could now focus on other opportunities. A family property was Melissa’s first entry into real estate and where she started developing a genuine interest in the potential of real estate investments for wealth generation.

“I had always been interested in real estate and then ended up with this family property that I decided to renovate and rent out. And as I started to do that, I realized there’s definitely more money to be made in real estate, and I got my feet wet,” Melissa said. “I realized lots of people were making a lot of money in real estate. I can be doing something here, too, even though I’m obviously working a full-time job. I started getting an interest in buying other properties to rent out, so I started actively investing in Atlanta. I also started passively investing, partnering with operators investing in high-growth areas in the U.S.”


Keys to Success

As Melissa has continued to grow her real estate portfolio, she realized that many skills fluidly transfer between the corporate world and the world of a real estate investor.

“Having good mentors is really important, and personally, I’m still trying to develop those mentoring relationships in the real estate industry. I have those mentors more on the corporate side, just because I’ve been in the industry for so long,” Melissa shared. “The network and mentors, in particular, can be so helpful because you can bounce ideas off of them and potentially avoid making the same mistakes.”

Learning from the past is another foundational element that drives Melissa’s investment strategy. In her formative years, she didn’t have financial role models in her life. Healthy money management wasn’t practiced or discussed.

Taking the Lead

Today, she is looking ahead and lives her life in a way that positions herself for a secure financial future, focusing on building a portfolio of diverse financial investments, and taking calculated risks.

“If other people can do this, other people are making money off of it; I had that confidence in myself that I can, too,” Melissa said. “I’m not perfect. I’m still learning and making some mistakes along the way, but it’s just that I have that confidence in myself that I can really learn, that I can make the connection and that I can be successful in this industry.”

With confidence comes support, and whether it is in the professional realm or with a team of fellow real estate investors, giving support is a fundamental element of every successful team. For Melissa, it’s essential to how she’s grown and managed her own team to ensure their continuous success.

“I love leading people. I’m really passionate about it because I like to see people grow and develop, and I love mentoring, building relationships, and building that trust,” Melissa reflected. “At the end of the day, we all want to succeed and we all have the same objective, so I want to make my team feel like I really support them and that I’ll do whatever I can to really help them in whatever ways they need.”



About the Author:

Leslie Chunta is a marketing consultant with nearly 15 years of experience in creating dynamic marketing programs and building brands for startups to enterprise organizations. She has worked agency- and client-side with high-growth companies that include Silicon Valley Bank, JPMorgan Chase, SailPoint, EMC, Spanning Cloud Apps, Ashcroft Capital, Netspend, and Universal Studios. 



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Boost Your Investment Growth in 2022 With the Best Ever Conference

Boost Your Investment Growth in 2022 With the Best Ever Conference

It’s official — the Best Ever Conference is going to be back in person and better than ever in 2022 in Denver, Colorado.

Attendees will have the opportunity to take full advantage of engaging keynotes, workshops, and networking with top real estate investors and innovators, all while forming long-lasting relationships with other high-quality attendees.

Investors eager to boost their growth in 2022 will want to mark their calendars for this game-changing event.

We asked Hunter Thompson, Managing Principal of Asym Capital, to share his thoughts on the Best Ever Conference. “There’s a part of me that wants to try to say, ‘It isn’t REALLY the best ever!’ but, you know what — it actually is,” he said. “When it comes to the caliber of the speakers, the networking opportunities, and the overall energy of the event, it just might be the ‘Best Ever!’”

Hunter added, “If I’m going to take the time out of my schedule to travel to a conference, it needs to be a five-star experience. Best Ever never fails to deliver on that requirement, which is why I attend every year.”

Purchasing a ticket today will allow attendees access to monthly virtual group discussions known as Mini Masterminds, which have already started. These Mini Masterminds provide the opportunity to immediately begin connecting with other attendees and continuously build relationships prior to meeting in person at the conference.

The BEC three-day agenda is going to be packed with next-level value and opportunities for growth. Not one day will be the same.

Want to elevate the experience? There is a limited amount of VIP tickets available. These tickets include everything in General Admission, plus additional exclusive opportunities to meet conference speakers, attend private social events, and more.

To purchase your ticket today, visit


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What Do Limited Partners Do for a Living?

What Do Limited Partners Do for a Living?

Those who qualify to invest in apartment syndications as limited partners are required to have a certain amount of money (net worth and liquidity) and investing experience.

But who are these people?

A common misconception is that only a “special” sort of person can passively invest in real estate. A savvy Wall Street broker, a billionaire tech giant, a hedge fund manager, and other such wealthy professionals. While these people absolutely do passively invest in real estate, thinking they are the only ones who invest cannot be further from the truth. In fact, as you will see if you keep reading, the most common passive investor is (probably) who you least expect. In fact, if I had to bet, I’d say that someone you know already passively invests in real estate.

Following are the types of people who most commonly passively invest in apartment syndication.


W2 employees

Arguably the most common passive apartment investor works a full-time W2 job. These are individuals who’ve reached a point in their careers where they have a high enough salary or made enough investment into stocks, IRA, 401(k), or other investments to meet the SEC’s accredited investor status.

I have met passive investors who work W2 jobs in nearly every industry. Examples include:

  • Physicians
  • Dentists
  • Technology sales
  • Engineers
  • Oil and gas executives (often engineers who’ve transitioned into management roles)
  • Commercial pilots
  • Fortune 500 executives
  • Attorneys
  • Professional athletes
  • Authors
  • Composers
  • Actuaries

People with high-paying W2 jobs decide to passively invest in apartment syndications because they work long hours and enjoy what they do, but they also want to beat the returns they are receiving on their other investments, like IRAs, 401(k)s, and the stock market.


Small business owners

These are self-employed individuals who’ve scaled a business to the point where the revenue generated or value of the company allows them to meet the SEC’s accredited investor requirements.

Examples of companies owned by small business owners who passively invest in apartment syndications include:

  • Landscaping companies
  • Architectural signage and lighting companies
  • Construction companies
  • Restaurants
  • Franchises
  • Health machinery companies
  • Grilling accessories companies
  • Office water cooler companies
  • Exposition companies
  • Technology companies
  • Voiceover actors
  • Golf cart supply companies

And the list goes on, because being self-employed, small business owners are heavily taxed. Therefore, they are attracted to passively investing in apartment syndications because they can get tax benefits. Also, they are busy running a small business that they are passionate about. They don’t have the time or the desire to go out and actively invest in real estate.



People who retire from a W2 job or who sell their small business also passively invest in apartment syndications. They have a lump sum of cash that they want to put to work while enjoying their retirement.


Professional full-time passive investors

These are individuals or groups who — using their own money, other people’s money, or both — operate a business that exclusively passively invests. They either exclusively passively invest with one or multiple GPs or they invest in a wide range of passive investment opportunities (apartment syndications, REITs, stocks, start-up businesses, etc.).

Examples of full-time passive investors include individuals who accumulated a high net worth and quit their W2 jobs to passively invest full-time or institutional investment firms like private equity companies or family offices.

A professional, full-time passive investor will choose to invest in apartment syndications because they can achieve higher and less risky returns compared to other passive investment opportunities and/or diversify their portfolio.


The GPs

It is common (and ideal) for the GPs to invest in their own deals. GPs will choose to invest in their own deals to create an alignment of interest with the LPs and to convey their confidence in the deal.


Real estate professionals

Individuals who invest in other types of real estate will passively invest in apartment syndications that generate enough income or have a large enough net worth from the active real estate business to meet the SEC accredited investor requirements.

Examples of real estate professionals who passively invest in apartment syndications include:

  • Fix-and-flippers
  • Buy-and-hold landlords
  • Short-term rentals
  • Developers
  • Commercial real estate investors (self-storage, mobile home parks, retail, medical, office, industrial, etc.)
  • Real estate agents
  • Commercial brokers
  • Mortgage brokers and lenders
  • Property management companies
  • GPs on other apartment syndications


If this type of individual is an active real estate investor, they will choose to passively invest in apartment syndications to diversify their investments, since they are usually focused on one asset class. For the non-real estate investors and real estate investors alike, since they work in the real estate industry full-time, they can qualify for the “Real Estate Professional” tax status. This allows them to use passive losses to offset the income generated from their active business.

Most likely, this person would choose to invest in apartment syndications to diversify their investments because they are usually exclusively investing in single-family homes or smaller multifamily properties. Additionally, the IRS has a designation called “Real Estate Professional” where passive losses can be used to offset non-passive income.


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How to Achieve Financial Independence Through Passive Investing

How to Achieve Financial Independence Through Passive Investing

Passive investing is one of the best things you can do if you want to achieve financial independence and retire early (FIRE). In a podcast interview with an online blogger and radiologist, we looked at how passive investments helped him become financially stable following a horrible divorce. To protect his anonymity, we will refer to our guest as XRAYVSN.


He Lost Everything Before Rebuilding Again as a Passive Investor

Before his divorce, XRAYVSN was financially stable. He lost more than $1 million following the divorce, and his work as a radiologist was not enough to rebuild his nest egg. Commercial real estate and passive investments allowed him to regain the money he lost.

During his 2010 divorce, XRAYVSN spent $300,000 on just his legal counsel fees. By the time everything was done, his net worth was $800,000 in the red. At almost 40 years old, he was completely devastated. His life savings were gone, and he had nothing to look forward to.

Instead of giving up, he began deploying his income in intelligent ways. After a lot of research, he decided to use his earnings to generate passive income. Inspired by the White Coat Investor and Passive Income MD, he began investing in new income streams.


How He Achieved His FIRE Goals

Within the FIRE movement, there are different levels of independence. Lean FIRE is when you are able to cover your basic needs. Meanwhile, Fat FIRE is when you can take luxurious vacations and afford almost anything you want. At this point, XRAYVSN is between these two levels of financial independence.

There are a variety of ways that an accredited investor can make money, but XRAYVSN already had a day job. Because he spent so much time working as a physician, he did not want to get started with active investing. Soon, he began researching different real estate investments.

Unlike many FIRE fans, XRAYVSN already had some experience with real estate investing. Before the divorce happened, he had owned several condos. Unfortunately, managing the condos had taken up a significant portion of his time. He knew that he had no interest in becoming a landlord again.

Because of the way the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) taxes earned income, real estate investments were especially appealing. Real estate investments come with extra tax breaks. Each tax break saved XRAYVSN more money, which he could reinvest in real estate properties.


Real Estate Investment Trusts

He ultimately decided to use real estate investment trusts (REITs). If you do not want the hassle of being a landlord, a REIT is an excellent alternative. It is essentially a stock that is made up of real estate investments.

Basically, you start by investing your money in a REIT. Then, they invest your money in real estate properties. Each quarter, you are paid distributions based on the REIT’s earnings. While you get paid like a normal real estate investor, you do not have to do any of the work. Because REITs function like stocks, you can easily sell your shares if you need to.

Since REITs are essentially stocks, their value can fluctuate. If the stock market tanks, your investment can disappear along with it. As long as you do not plan on selling your shares in the near future, this is not a major issue.



RealtyShares and crowdfunding platforms allow normal investors to invest in major real estate properties. Before the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act, wealthy households were the only people who could invest in certain properties. The JOBS Act made it possible for average investors to invest in these real estate properties.

With many crowdfunding platforms, you can get started with a minimum investment of just $5,000 to $10,000. These investments work by pooling funds from a variety of different investors. If you achieve a net worth of $1 million or more, then you can become an accredited investor. You can also achieve this status if you make $200,000 or more per year.


Securing a Syndicator

Accredited investing is designed for sophisticated investors. Once you achieve this status, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) allows you to buy unregistered securities. The SEC assumes investors who reach the accredited level are sophisticated enough to understand the added risk that occurs when you buy unregistered securities.

XRAYVSN quickly attained accredited status, which meant he could get new opportunities through private syndicators. He reached out to these syndicators through their websites and arranged for interviews. Because of how they are designed, these investments typically require a lot more research than standard investments.

Private syndicators spend their time searching for investment ideas. When they find a good one, they send an email blast to their investors. Then, they will generally host a demonstration for investors. Most syndicators require a minimum investment of at least $50,000. These investments are also illiquid, so it is difficult to access your money after you have invested it.

Obviously, this means that you do not want to use these types of investments if you need your money right away. If you want to make a long-term investment, working with private syndicators is a good idea. People can also get started by learning about the program through Syndication School. Because there are good and bad syndicators, it is important to look for red flags before you start passive investing with them. If you are comfortable working with a certain kind of commercial real estate, you should find a private syndicator that works in that sector.

As you look at different syndicators, you should read reviews from people who have already invested with them. You should also look at their results. How do they compare to similar organizations?

Some syndicators like to inflate how much they earn, so watch out for this issue. If one apartment complex is twice as profitable as other complexes in the same area, you should be suspicious. The company needs to have a good explanation for why they are earning so much more money than everyone else. If they do not have a reasonable explanation, you should invest with someone else.


Forging Your Own Path to FIRE

In order to become financially independent, you need to look at your burn rate. This figure is the amount you end up spending on your lifestyle and living expenses each year. To retire early, you must be able to cover your burn rate each year. You need to make a passive income stream that can cover your burn rate. If passive investing brings in more money than your burn rate, then you can afford to live a more luxurious lifestyle.

Do not be discouraged if you cannot retire right away. Because of compound interest, your earnings will grow over time. In order to retire comfortably, you will need to save 25 times your annual expenses. This means that you will need $1.5 million in the bank if you need $60,000 a year.

XRAYVSN is working toward an even more conservative goal. Instead of pulling 4 percent out of his retirement savings each year, he plans on only using 3 to 3.5 percent. To achieve this goal, he is bringing in passive income through his blog, private syndicators, and commercial real estate.

As an accredited investor, he can access more investment types than the average investor. Despite his accredited status today, he originally started out with simple crowdfunding investments. Even if all you can do is start small, you can eventually work your way up to accredited investing and achieve your FIRE goals.


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6 Best Ways to Find Commercial Real Estate Syndicators

Since commercial real estate syndications are a more sophisticated investment strategy for a smaller portion of the population (i.e., accredited investors), it is more difficult to find sponsors compared to other passive investment opportunities. For example, go to your local bank and they will ask you if you are interested in high-yield savings accounts or CDs. Go to any financial website or speak with a financial advisor and you’ll learn about stock, bond, and mutual fund opportunities. REITs are even more widely discussed than syndications.

In this blog post, I will outline some of the best strategies for finding commercial real estate syndicators to passively invest with. The six ways to find commercial real estate syndicators below are based on Ryan Gibson’s, CIO and co-founder of Spartan Investment Group, presentation at this year’s Best Ever Conference.


1. Online

Did you know that there are websites dedicated to creating a database of syndicators who are raising money for commercial real estate opportunities? Two of the most popular websites are 506 Investor Group and FormDs. Both resources are different but serve the same purpose: to help accredited investors find commercial real estate syndicators.

506 Investor Group is a private and confidential group of passive investors who discuss, evaluate, and share due diligence on alternative investments, including commercial real estate syndications. One resource you can access without a membership is the Rate Sponsors page. View a list of sponsors, which includes what they invest in and their ratings and reviews from other members in the 506 Investor Group.

FormDs, on the other hand, is a free database of all SEC filings (called “Form Ds”) of startups, growing businesses, hedge funds, and private equity firms, which includes commercial real estate syndications. On FormDs, you can search by the sponsor or company name, or you can filter by type (i.e., commercial real estate) and location.

A simple approach is to use FormDs to find a group and 506 Investor Group to review the group before scheduling an introductory call.


2. Networking

Speaking with other high net worth individuals is another way to find commercial real estate syndicators. Someone in your circle of influence (friend, neighbor, work colleague, etc.) may be passively investing in commercial real estate without you even knowing.


3. Funds

Another way to find a commercial real estate syndicator is through a fund that invests with commercial real estate operators. Known as the “funds of fund” model, a group will pool together investments from accredited investors and invest in other types of funds, like a commercial real estate fund. So, rather than finding a commercial real estate syndicator yourself, you find a group that specializes in investing with other apartment syndicators.


4. Commercial real estate events

Meetup groups and conferences that focus on commercial real estate are great resources for finding commercial real estate syndicators. You will either meet commercial real estate syndicators directly, or you will meet people who passively invest with commercial real estate investors. Here’s a list of real estate investor meetups to get you started.


5. Commercial real estate projects

If you see a commercial real estate development or rehab project in your area, chances are it is a syndicated deal. You can find out who syndicated the project by looking up the property parcel on the local county auditor/appraiser site and determining who owns the asset. Most likely, it is owned by an entity, but you can go to either the SEC website or the Secretary of State website to look up the owner of the entity.


6. Referrals

Once you find one operator to passively invest with, they can be a great source for other syndicators. They likely know other operators who are syndicating projects, either in the same niche or different niche. After you are happy with their performance, reach out to them for a referral.

Referrals from other operators (or other passive investors) are the best way to find commercial real estate syndicators, because they are pre-qualified, in a sense. You still want to screen them (here is a blog with the most important questions to ask when qualifying a syndicator); however, they come with more legitimacy since they were referred to you by a trusted source.


Best Ways to Find Commercial Real Estate Syndicators

The best way to find pre-qualified commercial real estate syndicators is from referrals. In addition to referrals, use websites, like 506 Investment Group and FormDs, to find and review prospective syndicators. Network with other high net worth individuals in your network to learn who they are investing with. Work with funds who invest in commercial real estate funds. Attend commercial real estate meetup groups and conferences. Lastly, assume any new commercial real estate project in your area is a syndication deal and locate the group that manages the project.

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Welcome to the Accredited Investor Club

Picture a dimly lit room, full of some of the world’s wealthiest individuals, privately gathering to discuss the future of the world. Rockefeller. Morgan. Carnegie. All of the world’s biggest players are there, deciding which markets will succeed, which assets will thrive, and who will end up footing the bill.

For ages, many of the world’s “best deals” were a