Ask the Real Estate Investing Expert

Multifamily and Commercial Real Estate Insurance Advice for Investors

Multifamily and Commercial Real Estate Insurance Advice for Investors

Commercial real estate can be incredibly lucrative, but it also has inherent risks. Many of these risks can be mitigated with the right real estate insurance coverage. Jake Stacy specializes in this specific niche, and he works for an established, successful firm located in Seattle, Washington. More than that, he personally invests in commercial and multifamily properties. With this in mind, he offers real estate insurance advice to commercial property investors that is rooted in personal and professional experience alike. We met with Stacy to share his insight with others who may benefit from it.

 

Factors That Affect a Commercial Property’s Premium

Historically, the process that an apartment or commercial real estate owner or manager endured when shopping for new coverage has been time-consuming and stressful. For each quote requested, the individual had to provide between five to 10 pages of concrete data on the property. This covered everything from the age and square footage of the building to the construction type, the number of units, the average market rental rate for comparable units, and more. In addition to these factors, property location plays a major role in the premium. For example, the property’s location will impact what types of inclement weather and environmental factors it is subject to. The crime rate in the area also drives the premium.

Over the last several years, Jake Stacy’s firm has seen double- and triple-digit growth year over year because of its streamlined way to provide quotes. Specifically, it draws on various databases to access digital data. Then, it does not wait for new clients to reach out. Instead, the firm actively mines data to look for communities that would meet its criteria. It provides potential clients with a faster, easier way to set up more affordable coverage.

 

The Impact of Age on Insurability

Older properties are increasingly difficult to insure, according to Stacy. Specifically, he states that a property that was built prior to 1990 or 1980 may have limited options for carriers interested in insuring it. At the same time, the rates offered by the interested carriers may be much higher than the rates for a comparable yet newer property. This holds true even if the property is in great condition and has no significant claims in its history.

However, there are mitigating factors that providers look at. For example, if the property’s wiring has been updated from aluminum to copper and if it has a newer roof on it, it may be much more affordable to insure. Because these are factors that impact exposure to risk as well as the cost to insure the property, investors should pay attention to them when selecting a new investment property.

Another mitigating factor that may be considered is the age of other properties in an investor’s portfolio. Assuming that the investor’s other properties are insured by the same carrier, that carrier could make an exception with regards to the older property if all other properties are newer. This exception can be related to insurability as well as rate.

 

The Effect of Geographic Location

While the property’s location will specifically be used to research the crime rate for coverage purposes, the location’s environmental risks and weather conditions are also taken into consideration. For example, in California, the risk of wildfire damage can result in increased rates compared to a property in Michigan. The risk of wind, hail, and tornado damage in Texas can result in a higher real estate insurance premium than a comparable property in Washington may have. Properties along the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coasts are subject to hurricane damage and flooding. While all properties may be subject to some level of environmental risk, properties in some locations may be more likely to experience costlier damage. In fact, you could pay double the premium in some areas in Texas than you would pay to insure a comparable property in Seattle.

To offset these risks, providers look at specific factors. For example, in New England and in the Midwest where deep freezes are common, one of the biggest risks is related to water damage from ruptured pipes. Because of this, coverage may be more affordable and easier to obtain if the property’s plumbing system has been updated.

 

The Importance of Replacement Cost

When you insure a commercial or multifamily property, the policy will have a per-unit or per-square-foot replacement cost. Essentially, this is how much the carrier will pay out in the event of severe damage or a total loss. In some cases, building costs are increasing rapidly, and policies may not be aligned with the most current costs. With this in mind, the property owner may only receive a payout that covers a fraction of the cost to replace the property. This creates an unnecessary financial liability for the property owner through investing activities.

 

The Affordability of Deductibles

Investors have some wiggle room with regards to their deductible. By increasing the deductible, they can enjoy a lower premium. This equates to improved cash flow on a monthly basis. However, a higher deductible may be more challenging for some investors to pay in the event that they need to file a claim. Keep in mind that some situations may require the investor to pay the deductible at the drop of a hat on multiple properties. The investor should establish a deductible strategy across his or her full portfolio that is manageable and that optimizes profitability without creating unnecessary risk.

 

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7 Real Estate Experts on What to Do if There Is a Housing Market Crash in 2022

7 Real Estate Experts on What to Do if There Is a Housing Market Crash in 2022

For realtors and investors, planning ahead is one of those things that separates winners from losers. While odds are that we won’t witness a housing market crash in 2022, what would you do if it did happen?

This article is a sort of fear-setting or worst-case-scenario approach to real estate market predictions. What 2020 clearly showed us is that it’s usually hard to predict the ebbs and flows of real estate. No one could have thought there would be an influx of millennial first-time homebuyers pouncing on homes while the coronavirus vaccine was still in view. Real estate activity in 2020 had a significant effect on the U.S. economy’s rebound. So, I asked some real estate experts the question: If the housing market crashes in 2022, how would you keep your business afloat? Here are the responses I received.

 

Jeb Smith, Broker Associate and GRI with Coldwell Banker Realty in Huntington Beach

“I want to be clear that I don’t believe there will be a ‘housing market crash’ in 2022, but if the market were to change, I would do exactly what I’ve done my entire career, and that’s focus on relationships. As a realtor who receives the majority of his business from past clients, friends, and family, I would continue to nurture those relationships and be a source of information to help guide them through the tough times ahead.

“At the same time, I have experience in selling foreclosures in the last housing debacle and would work on redeveloping those relationships to take advantage of any new opportunities that could arise. I don’t believe you need to change your business model entirely if you’ve been focused on the right things the whole time, so I would just continue to focus on those people that know me, like me, and trust me, and things will be just fine.”

 

Ken McElroy, Real Estate Analyst and Investor

According to Ken, there are four main opportunities for investors right now in the housing market:

 

1. Cost to Build vs. Cost to Buy

“Let me give you an example: Right now we are in the process of buying a property in Katy, Texas. We’re buying two apartment complexes of 648 units in Katy and paying $73 million for both projects. That’s under $130,000 per unit, which equates to $120–$130 per foot. So, I’m buying a property at well below the cost to build. If I was to build another property right next door to that property, it would be well over $200 per foot. In Phoenix, that same exact property we bought in Katy, Texas will cost a little over $200,000 a unit. And of course, we went down to Katy because the rents are not that much different because the property is right across the street from the Texas Medical Center.”

In other words, give more weight to locations where buying real estate is comparatively cheaper than building — employ considerable due diligence.

 

2. Supply vs. Demand

“Take a look at the supply — where are people going? What’s the occupancy? If occupancy is really high in an area or about ready to be high because the area is growing, then that means that your rental demand is going to be there, and rents will grow like we just saw for the last 10 years in Austin, Texas.”

 

3. Follow the People

“People vote with their pocketbooks and their feet — the rider trucks, the U-Hauls, etc. Florida, Texas, and Arizona are good markets right now. But it’s very hard to buy properties in many places because people are moving there right now. And you’re going to see rental rates go up in these places because people are buying properties for investment and renting them for the long term.”

 

4. Cash Flow vs. Capital Gain

“Don’t buy properties for capital gains. This is not the time, for example, to buy a house for $300K and flip it for $400K. You want to make it cash flow. You want to use the strong rental rates so that whatever you buy will put cash in your pocket over the long term and you’re building a primarily tax-free passive income.”

 

Kristina Morales, Realtor, KristinaMorales.com

“Regardless of the condition of the housing market, I am confident that my business will stay afloat. The market is currently hot. However, it is hot for sellers, not buyers. So, when it shifts to a buyer’s market, it will be a hot market for buyers.

“For me, there are a few key things that I plan on doing to position my business for sustainable success. The first key to my business is to continue to invest in the right places — systems, automation, marketing, and people.

“Another key is anticipating market shifts and being nimble enough to skill up and prepare for the new market conditions. For example, if we find ourselves in a market where short sales become prevalent, then I will be sure to prepare myself for this environment.

“The last key is to continually innovate. The client experience is the number-one driving force in my success, and constantly trying to innovate to improve and deliver value to my clients is essential.”

 

Bill Gassett, Realtor and Owner of Maximum Real Estate Exposure

“When markets correct themselves, it is important for agents to be ready to adjust. It is very difficult to go from having to do little work to sell a house to all of a sudden having very few people to work with. In the last significant real estate downturn from 2007 to 2012, there were significant hardships. Numerous homeowners lost substantial equity in their homes. The economy was awful, and people were losing their jobs.

“This led to many financial hardships including foreclosure. As an agent, I began to notice fairly quickly there was a demand for someone who could help homeowners short sell their property rather than letting it go to foreclosure. To keep my business running full steam ahead, I became a short-sale expert.

“While other agents were floundering, my business skyrocketed. Doing short sales in addition to my traditional business, I was doing 80–100 transaction sides by myself. Needless to say, these were some of the best-earning years of my career.

“All great real estate agents need to be able to adjust to their environment. Whether that means learning something new, investing more money back into their business, or doing something different. Change is inevitable. A real estate correction will happen again. It always does. Agents who can recognize this early on will be able to put themselves in a better position not to skip a beat.”

 

Marina Vaamonde, Real Estate Investor, HouseCashin.com

“Experienced housing investors realize that the economy works in cycles and that they have to prepare for slow times. In tough times, cash is definitely king. Investors who recently got into the market have probably not had time to set aside reserves. Even some experienced investors ignore the need for adequate reserves. They had better start now.

“High prices make this a good time to sell properties that you previously bought at lower prices and have held onto. Investors with a sizable portfolio should consider selling some assets to increase their bankroll. Short-term investors with properties that are market-ready are in a good position. If the rapid acceleration of housing prices results in a crash, there will be opportunities for those who have cash to spend.

“Decreased demand will probably not last long. There was already a housing shortage prior to the pandemic. According to Freddie Mac, the U.S. had a housing shortage in 2018 of 2.5 million units. With the right preparation now, a housing investor will still be in business if the housing market declines.”

 

Aleksandr Pritsker, Realtor and Founder of Team Blackstar at eXp Realty

“Realistically speaking, if there’s a market crash, that means investors will start coming in and buying up everything as per previous market crashes. I always make sure to keep my business on a steady diet of all types of buyers and sellers, because you never know what type of market it will be. So, I try to make sure that I’m fully prepared for any market scenario and have the right contacts to be able to thrive and succeed in any market that may come up. You never know what tomorrow will bring, but you always have to surround yourself with the right business people to keep you going no matter what the situation is.”

 

Jordon Scrinko, Realtor, precondo.ca

“The great thing about real estate, in general, is that transactions occur regardless of price action. People have to buy and sell homes for a number of reasons — jobs, relocation, upsizing, downsizing, etc. My experience suggests that in a down market, sellers flock to the realtors who really know their market and produce results, rather than in a frothy market where any realtor will do the trick. Product knowledge is key in a down market.”

 

What is a housing market bubble?

When there’s limited supply and rising demand due to speculation or a deregulated real estate financing market, we have a housing bubble. It appears that currently, we’re in a housing bubble as home buyers overpay on homes in hot markets and investors compete with cash on overpriced homes. A housing bubble typically lasts for four to five years.

According to Wikipedia, “Bubbles in housing markets are more critical than stock market bubbles. Historically, equity price busts occur on average every 13 years, last for 2.5 years, and result in about 4 percent loss in GDP. Housing price busts are less frequent, but last nearly twice as long and lead to output losses that are twice as large (IMF World Economic Outlook, 2003).”

Eventually, price growth rises to a point where there isn’t a demand to sustain it, and it stagnates or falls — i.e., a sharp drop in prices or a housing bubble burst.

 

Will the housing market crash in 2022?

A recent Reuters poll of 40 housing analysts suggested that house values in the U.S. will rise more slowly in 2022. The surveyed analysts estimated that values would rise by 10.6% this year, followed by a gain of 5.6% in 2022. According to the Reuters report: “Beyond this year, U.S. house prices were forecast to moderate and average 5.6% growth next year and 4.0% in 2023.”

Experts believe we’ll see the high home price growth rates reduce to near-normal levels in 2022 and 2023. Another reason why there is probably not going to be a housing market crash in 2022 is that there have been tighter lending standards. A major reason for the 2007/2008 crash was that there was a high rate of mortgage fraud. The mortgage denial rate halved between 1997 and 2003. The cost of lending increased, and the federal reserve loosely supervised banks and lenders, leading to price corrections in many markets. The culmination of these things led to a housing bubble burst.

This led to hundreds of thousands of homes going into foreclosure, multiple subprime lenders declaring bankruptcy, and the real estate market requiring federal bailouts. Based on a survey of 5000 realtors by real estate MarTech platform Real Estate Bees, 56.6% of realtors don’t believe we’ll witness the same kind of foreclosure and short sale swamp that was witnessed in 2008. On the mortgage front, we don’t see the same kind of indiscriminate lending being practiced in the face of new legislation and federal oversight. Yet, there is still uncertainty, since “whatever goes up must come down.” But based on the facts, the housing market crash isn’t about to crash in 2022.

 

Final Thoughts

The key to navigating a housing market crash is having a good strategy in place. During the 2008 housing market crash, realtors and real estate investors who embraced innovative marketing strategies grew their businesses even while the overall market declined. While a housing market crash isn’t expected in 2022, it’s still a good idea to plan for every eventuality.

 

 

About the Author:

Agnes A Gaddis is a writer for Inman News, Influencive, and the TSAHC (Texas State Affordable Housing Corporation). She has over 7 years of experience writing for the real estate industry. Connect with her on Twitter: @Alanagaddis

 

 

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Six Investing Strategies to Thrive in 2021

Six Investing Tactics to Thrive in 2021 and Beyond from Real Page Chief Economist

COVID-19 changed the commercial real estate investing landscape in 2020. Heck, Boise, ID, of all markets, experienced the greatest rent growth one year into the pandemic of 16%.

Now that we are over a year into the pandemic-induced recession, many commercial real estate experts are offering their advice on how you need to change your investing approach. One firm that is leading the way in providing such insights is Real Page.

Greg Willet, Chief Economist at Real Page Inc., was a featured speaker at this year’s Best Ever Conference. In his presentation, he outlined six investing and operational strategies to implement in 2021.

 

Tactic #1 – Throttle up your sun belt assets

One of the best strategies for 2021 is to get in front of the renter demand by focusing on markets that performed well throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. ApartmentList.com is a good resource that tracks rents across the nation on a monthly basis.

Many markets in the Sun Belt region (southern US from southern California to Florida) performed well since the onset of COVID. In fact, with the exception of the major MSAs in California and Texas, New Orleans, Nashville, Orlando, and Miami, basically all Sun Belt markets experienced rent growth rates greater than the national average of 1.1%.

Also, don’t rule out the Midwest. Outside of Chicago, Minneapolis, and Cleveland, the other Midwest cities posted positive rent growth rates in 2020 (most exceeded the national average, too). Demand is not as strong as it is in the Sun Belt regions, but low supply in the Midwest will drive demand in 2021.

 

Tactic #2 – Don’t bank on flight-to-quality

Historically, when a recession occurs, top-tier Class A products discount their rents. As a result, “flight-to-quality” occurs – the lower rents of Class A products attract renters which boosts occupancy. However, during the COVID-induced pandemic in 2020, these rent discounts did not result in an uptick in demand to the extent experienced in previous economic recessions. Instead, renters have had the tendency to move down and downgrade to Class B and Class C products to save money. This trend was also expedited by stay-at-home orders with people moving from expensive urban areas to the less expensive suburbs for more space at a lower rate.

 

Tactic #3 – Explore a low-capital value-add strategy

Similar to not banking on “flight-to-quality,” don’t pursue large value-add opportunities either. Hold off on the bells and whistles and focus on maintenance issues and the appearance of the asset. In doing so, the asset will be more affordable to a larger group of renters.

Another benefit of this approach is your ability to turn around a vacant unit faster (or keep the existing resident) with a lower quality upgrade. This will boost occupancy and support resident retention at lease expiration. Plus, the lower quality upgrade will leave money on the table for a future buyer.

 

Tactic #4 – Measure what is working now

It is the right time to adjust the recipe for your operational “secret sauce.” You do not want to be doing what worked well in the past. You want to be doing what works well now. For example, testing and measuring the success of technology at your properties.

Millennials overtook Baby Boomers as the US’s largest population in 2019. So, pay attention to what young adults are doing and how it impacts the types of units that are in demand. Then, determine how this impacts your marketing needs because certain marketing strategies are better and worse based on what is in demand.

The bottom line is to measure everything to see what is different now compared to two years ago.

 

Tactic #5 – Focus on renewals

Since the onset of COVID-19, there has been large variability in renewal rates across the country. However, you must make it a priority to hang on to the good residents who are making their full payments on time. Taking a hit on rent on a renewal lease might be a good thing if it is a high-quality resident.

Pay attention to the type of units with lower and higher renewal rates and ask yourself, “Why aren’t they renewing?”. It may not be the rental rate or other fees, so focus on the non-pricing factors, like maintenance and customer service.

 

Tactic #6 – Take back control of your brand

Know what you are selling and who the target for your product and message is in this marketplace. The overall message should focus on service, appearance, ease of living at the property, the location – don’t focus on price.

 

Six Tactics to Thrive in 2021

Focus on the markets that outperformed the national average in 2020, especially the Sun Belt and Midwest.

Consider avoiding top-tier, Class A+ and Class A products since many renters elected to downgrade to Class B and Class C in 2020.

Instead, consider a low-cost value-add strategy focused on addressing deferred maintenance and appearance issues.

Test out new operational strategies to determine what works today because what works now didn’t work two years ago.

One of the best operational strategies of 2021 is to retain your high-quality residents, even if it means not increasing their rent at renewal.

Focus your asset’s branding and marketing on lifestyle-related factors instead of pricing factors.

 

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What it takes to become one of the nation's top companies

What it Takes to Become One of the Nation’s Top Companies

The Inc. 5000 is a list of the fastest-growing private companies in America. Scott Lewis, one of the speakers featured at this year’s Best Ever Conference, is the CEO and co-founder of Spartan Investment Group (SIG). SIG experienced 1,479% growth in 2020, ranking 308th for all industries and 8th for real estate.

In Scott’s presentation, he provided advice on the best practices to implement if you want your business to experience 1000%+ growth and make the Inc. 5000.

Defining your culture

The three parts of your culture are (1) your why, (2), your vision, and (3) your values.

Your culture starts with your why. Why do you do what you do? Why do you go to work each day? Ask yourself these questions and write out the answers. Then, using these answers, formulate a one or two-sentence mission statement. For example, SIG’s mission statement on their website is “to improve lives through real estate.” That is their why. That is why they do what they do. With a company mission statement that reflects your why, you and your team are inspired to show up every day.

The next part of your culture is your vision. Your vision involves where you want to go. To determine where you want to go, you need to understand what success looks like to you. This is more than just a quantitative, “I want to control X dollars in real estate.” It must be a qualitative vision. For example, SIG’s vision on their website is “to build a company where a relentless drive fuels our growth and improves the lives of our team and our investors. To do this, our focus is to provide opportunities for our team to grow and achieve their dreams both personally and professionally. For our investors, we provide only investment opportunities that have been thoroughly scrutinized by our processes. Day in, day out, we work with determination to persevere through every challenge in achieving our goals.”

The third part of your culture is your values. What behaviors do you need to see in your organization to adhere to your mission statement and realize your vision? For example, SIG’s values on their website are summed up by one word, GRITT. That is, growth, respect, integrity, tenacity, and transparency.

Once your culture is defined (that is, you have a mission statement, vision, and set of values), you need to avoid the “say-do” gap. Make sure you don’t say one thing and do another. Otherwise, your culture isn’t believable. Therefore, you must live out your values in order to accomplish your mission and vision.

Developing your plan

With a qualitative vision, you must now set quantitative goals, as well as create a strategic plan on how to accomplish those goals.

To create the best strategic plan, Scott recommends spending 90 days in education mode and another 90 days in development mode before going out and taking action.

When developing the strategic plan, set three overall goals to be accomplished in a three-year period. For each goal, create three to five objectives. For each objective, create at least three key results. For example, one of SIG’s three-year goals is to monetize $250M of commercial real estate with an average margin of 30% and develop $50k of monthly revenue from advisory services. One of the objectives set to accomplish this goal is to build an acquisitions infrastructure capable of nationwide marketing and monetizing 100% of opportunities. SIG has five key results associated with this objective (for example, create a seamless wholesaling process that drives contract to package in less than 3 weeks). Each objective also has a projected completion date and is assigned to a team member.

Overall, you need a goal, multiple objectives for each goal, a plan to achieve that objective, a measure of success, a timeline, and a person assigned to each objective.

Assemble your team

The third piece of advice Scott provided about making the Inc. 5000 list involves how to create your team.

Before finding a partner or bringing on team members, you need to understand your strengths and weaknesses. There are plenty of free and paid personality tests that can aid in this process. However, Scott believes the best way is to ask your circle of influence, like friends and family. The best person in your circle of influence to ask is your spouse.

What you really want to know from your friends, family, and spouse are your weaknesses. Once you know your weaknesses, you know who you need to hire – someone who excels at what you are bad at.

When you start to hire people, they not only need to have complementary competencies, but they must also have your company’s values. You can teach most competencies, but you cannot teach character.

Assuming they align with your company’s values and have complementary competencies, you want to understand their experience and track record. Mainly, you want to know if they were successful due to luck or skill.

How to Make the Inc. 5000

Achieving the massive growth required to make the Inc. 5000 list comes down to your team. However, before assembling your team, you need to create the right culture to attract the right people. This includes forming a mission statement, setting a vision, and creating values. Then, you need to create a strategic plan that aligns with your mission, vision, and values. Once this foundation is set, you can assemble your team, focusing on people who align with your values and have complementary skill sets.

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Anatomy Of My First Industrial Deal

In 2015, I had a few years of commercial Real Estate investing under my belt. Things were beginning to get competitive and a lot of coastal buyers were coming into the Midwest. I assumed the market was at a peak so I started to sell off my assets to buyers from New York and California. I was going to wait for the next economic downturn to start buying again. As the months went by, I sat on the sidelines and witnessed a lot of residential investors continuing to grow their business. Was I wrong? What were they doing that I wasn’t? Well it turns out that they were still grinding while I was making excuses. For the first time ever, I realized that I had to market myself. It occurred to me that a lot of my friends and family didn’t even know that I was in Real Estate. I kept seeing posts from residential investors showcasing their deals, their struggles and their successes. I followed their lead and did the same. One post was a video of me clearing shrubs around an office parking lot before the workday started. Another was my kids being dragged into construction sites because there was no one at home to watch them. I put myself out there and brought people into my world. My friends and family quickly learned that I was a commercial Real Estate investor. I also offered to mentor anyone who wanted to learn more about commercial Real Estate. These simple posts snowballed into numerous networking opportunities and long lasting friendships.

Fast forward five years and many deals later. One of my greatest friends, Jason Stanley was an experienced single family investor. He called me to let me know that he found a few industrial buildings going to auction. He informed me that he had been following my posts and was convinced that commercial Real Estate would yield stronger returns. In the same manner that I have helped many others, I offered to help him underwrite these deals and walk him through the process. Because this was an auction, I figured the field would be competitive and the chances of winning were slim. Nonetheless, I gave him a target of what I would want to purchase these buildings for. My numbers were based on published NOI plus a large cushion since we were not privy to inspections. I assumed the worst so I gave Jason a ridiculously low purchase price that he should not exceed. The morning of the auction, he asked me if I wanted to partner on this deal. 100% YES!

As the auction was underway, Jason was at the property nervously bidding on this parcel of three buildings. To our amazement, we won the auction for $150k. These buildings comprise of three tenants and a total of 15k square feet. We acquired the property for $10/ft.

Now it was time to dive into the details and figure out what we just purchased. Prior to the auction, we were given approximate rents, an NOI number and incomplete leases. My underlying thought was for $10/ft, we could afford to make the necessary improvements and re-lease the property if necessary. I called my banker to get him started on the appraisal and loan. While on the phone with him, he looked up the property, noticed the river and asked if it was in a flood plain. My stomach dropped because I should have known better and looked up this information (https://msc.fema.gov/portal/search) prior to bidding. Luckily we are in zone X and would not be required to obtain flood insurance.

The best we could decipher is that we had two tenants whose leases were expiring in twelve months and one tenant who’s lease would expire in 2024 with 2 rent bumps. These were all gross leases but the tenants were responsible for landscaping and snow removal. The rents are listed below:

Tenant 1 – $1600/month 6000 sq ft $3.20/ft
Tenant 2 – $1100/month 3000 sq ft $4.40/ft
Tenant 3 – $1250/month 6000 sq ft $2.50/ft

All of these rents are well below market. Each of these buildings comprises of a small office area and a warehouse/workshop space with ground floor drive in access. They would be very easy to lease to a variety of tenants. The property is also very close to Interstate 75, making it more appealing.

We immediately wanted to ease any uncertainty that these tenants had. When a business owner’s building is being sold, they are justifiably nervous for a number of reasons. I began to research and found the email addresses of the tenants then sent them an introduction letter and asked if we could meet with them. The next week we met with all of the tenants to let them know that we are full-time and hands on professional landlords and would take good care of them. We found out their pain points and assured them that they were in capable hands. Unfortunately, one of the pain points was a leaky roof, a 12,000 sq foot leaky roof. I suppose this was to be expected and was likely the cause for other investors not bidding as high as we did. Nonetheless, this would be a $60,000 hit to us. Fortunately, the appraised value of this property allowed us to work the roof replacement into our loan. The numbers for this deal are below:

Cash on cash returns are currently 58%. If we can get closer to market rents, the cash on cash return would be over 100%. With increased rents, this parcel would be worth $560,000 at a 8% cap rate. I attribute all of this to putting myself out there and offering to help other investors.

 

Jason and I at closing

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How to Grow Your Business Using TikTok

How Antonio Cucciniello Found Success Marketing On TikTok

The social media sphere is a hotspot for entertainment, community, and collaboration. Best of all, these platforms offer opportunities to expand your reach, market yourself, and promote your business. Antonio Cucciniello, a real estate investor, is proof that present-day websites and modern applications are practical advertising tools. TikTok, specifically, has allowed Cucciniello to gain new clients and investors.

Much like any functioning member of society, Cucciniello is no stranger to social media. For years, Cucciniello posted videos to YouTube. After four years and 500 videos, he only amassed 300 subscribers. Meanwhile, his Instagram following was lagging, which proved detrimental to his active and commercial real estate investing efforts. Eventually, Cucciniello discovered the power of TikTok.

In the hopes of advancing his career, Cucciniello hopped on the bandwagon. He got his first taste of social media success after publishing a TikTok video. Within one day, Cucciniello’s TikTok post received 52 views, and he gained 150 followers by the end of the week. Before long, Cucciniello went viral, earning 130,000 views on a video that poked fun at terrible tenants. Since his partial claim to fame, Cucciniello’s devised a sound strategy on how to market on TikTok.

In his experience, Cucciniello’s found that instructional videos typically gain the most traction. Whether you’re discussing how to scale a business or change a tire, Cucciniello maintains that audiences love to learn. He then goes live to talk more in-depth about the content. To increase consumer engagement, he welcomes questions. According to Cucciniello, being controversial is one surefire way to go viral. However, he usually sticks to humor, dancing, and general amusement to appeal to audiences.

Cucciniello is far from the first to unlock TikTok’s marketing potential. In fact, many are gravitating to this platform in an effort to gain more exposure. As a result, industry experts are providing insight on how to scale a business on TikTok. By heeding the following advice, you can reap the benefits of TikTok’s massive following and ever-expanding platform.

How To Market On TikTok

Know What You’re Working With

Arming yourself with pertinent information is a crucial first step. After all, to get the most out of the platform you’re using, it’s critical to learn, analyze, and monitor it. For instance, watch videos that are circulating the platform, note similarities between them, and develop ways to apply this knowledge to your specific content.

Don’t Overthink It

While it’s important to be deliberate in your approach, don’t give entertainment the back seat. In other words, infuse some fun into your content. Even if you’re talking about active real estate investing, you can find ways to inject lightheartedness into your videos. In essence, if you find a happy medium between informative and entertaining, you’re bound to reel in a wide audience.

Work With Other Influencers

On TikTok, there’s strength in numbers. Find someone who’s on your same playing field, and collaborate. Studies show that traditional marketing doesn’t interest Generation Z. With that said, you have to think outside the box. By partnering with other influencers, you can subliminally market your platforms while giving viewers the engaging content they desperately desire. Not only will you be able to reach a dynamic viewership, but you’ll also start making beneficial connections.

Look Into TikTok Advertising

As a powerhouse in the social media realm, TikTok’s introduced unique campaign strategies to its platform. Native content, brand takeovers, hashtag challenges, and branded lenses are the marketing resources they’ve created. Each offers its own perks, so you’ll need to gauge which option is best for your business. No matter what you decide, TikTok’s taken a calculated approach to ensure that your marketing methods breed some results.

Stay True To Yourself

Above all else, don’t attempt to be someone you’re not. While it’s prudent to emulate a person’s recipe for success, recycling someone else’s content won’t prove effective. Instead, highlight the qualities and strengths that set you apart. Most importantly, don’t shy away from topics that interest you. Even if you think that commercial real estate investing won’t attract viewers, you’d be surprised how many niche communities there are on TikTok. Simply put, don’t stray too far from your roots, and you’ll inevitably succeed.

Using the above story and advice as inspiration, you can effortlessly grow your business on TikTok. Whether you’re into active real estate investing or tree shaping, there’s a place for all on TikTok’s inclusive platform. Build your brand with confidence and ease when you start your TikTok journey today.

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Top Takeaways From Every BEC2021 Day 2 Speaker

The Top 10 Things to Ask Before Investing

Ryan Gibson, Spartan Investment Group

How to find great operators

  • Online:(506 investor group, forms D)
  • Networking
  • Funds: fund of funds
  • Syndication groups: meetups groups
  • Projects: something you see in your area because most are syndicated
  • Referrals: from other operators

Your interview with the operator

  • Ask open ended questions: When interviewing operators, see if they are interested in what you have to say
  • Write down notes
  • Keep a log of operator Q&A
  • Portfolio projects
  • Referrals
  • Property location

Are they an operator or syndicator? Determine what role the company plays. How are they compensated, how are they aligned with you? Are they aligned with the success of the project?

Tell me about a deal gone bad? This is Ryan’s favorite question. Having no deals that have gone bad indicates low experience or a lie while having deals that have gone bad helps you judge the grit of the syndicator. 

What is their mission, vision, and values? Does their mission, vision, values, align with yours? Ask them to give an example of how they’ve used their values recently.

Who is on the team? Are they a one-man band or do they have a deep bench? Are they vertically integrated? Are they using the fees they charge to hire a great team or to pay themselves?

What is their core business model? Selling education? Working elsewhere? Focused on deals? Gurus?

What is your investor communication plan? Ask for last three communications to get a better understanding of their communication style. Is the plan in writing? Can you verify property performance against projections?

What is the performance of their portfolio?

  • Historical performance (proforma vs actual): comparison is more important than absolute return since it gives you the right context
  • Was it project level IRR or investor IRR: total project may look better than investor level
  • Consistent metrics: Ryan likes to use equity multiple and how long it took gives true time tested return, IRR might be misleading or not the best metric

Obtain reference and conduct a background check

  • Don’t ask for a reference, find your own, because no one gives bad references
  • Find others that have invested in the company
  • BBB, Google reviews, 506 Group, etc. – search for the company name and name of the principles

Insurance

  • Does SEC attorney provide E&O insurance to cover for lawsuits
  • What exclusions are included on their title insurance?
  • Is there property insurance at least from an A rated Carrier?

Decision to exit

  • What would make an operator exit early? What is their justification for selling?
  • Have they sold early in the past? How many time and, how did the actual returns compare to projections?
  • How do they brief investors?

Market-Driven Strategies for Investment and Operations

Greg Willett, Real Page Inc.

Where we are at right now

  • We suffered sizable job losses which have impacted real estate market. However, occupancy rates are at healthy level and we’ve experienced rent growth in some places. Overall, there is huge variability in results in one part of the country and product niche to another – the highest I have ever seen.
  • Best rent growth is about 8% – Inland Empire, Sacramento, Virginia Beach, Memphis, Midwest
  • Gateway metros are really struggling – Bay area and metro New York: rents cut 15% to 20%

Three Investing Strategies

  1. Throttle up your Sun Belt assets. Simply getting in front of renter demand can help fuel performance successReally solid demand results across state of Texas, Carolinas, Tennessee, Atlanta, Phoenix, and Denver. Be careful in Florida markets, because there are a lot of tourism centers. Places like Tampa, Jacksonville are doing well. Don’t rule out the Midwest. Demand is not as strong as it is in the Sunbelt but low supply will drive demand.
  2. Don’t bank on a flight-to-quality. Rent discounts at top-tier product are not delivering move-up renters to the extent experienced during previous economic stumbles: Renters have had the tendency to move down and downgrade to class B and C to save money.
  3. Explore a low capital value add strategy. Lower price points are boosting occupancy and supporting resident retention at lease expiration: Focus on maintenance issues and appearance but hold off on bells and whistles to keep property more affordable for bigger group of renters. Turn around on a vacant unit is faster for lower quality upgrade and leaves money on table for a future buyer.

Three Operational Strategies

  1. It’s the right time to adjust the recipe for your operational “secret sauce.” Measure what’s working now: You don’t want to be doing what worked well in the past, you want to be doing what works well now. Pay attention to what young adults are doing and how it impacts the types of units that are in demand. Then determine how this impacts your marketing needs, because certain strategies are better and worse. The bottom line is to measure everything to see what is different now compared to two years ago
  2. Focus on renewals. Resident retention at initial lease expiration has gotten harder to achieve in some locations and product segments, so make it a priority to hang onto today’s best residents: There is large variability in renewal rates across the country. But the goal is to hang on to the good residents who are making payments. Taking a hit on rents on a renewal lease might be a good thing. Pay attention to the type of units with lower and higher renewal rates and ask yourself, why aren’t they renewing? Pay attention to the non-pricing factors, like maintenance and customer service.
  3. Take back control of your brand. Know what you are selling and who the target for your product and message is in this marketplace: The overall message should focus on service, appearance, ease of living a the property, the location – don’t focus on price.

The Devastating Impact of Climate Change on Your Real Estate Investments in the Next 10 Years

Neal Bawa, Grocapitus

Impact of climate change in 2020 and questions to think about

  • 2020 had $95B in damage from climate disasters
  • What will happen to your investments when taxes increase to pay for massive sea walls?
  • Where will the money come from to fix Texas’s power grid?
  • In California, the six greatest wildfires happened in 2020, and will double in five years. How will this impact California cap rates?
  • Cities with sea level rise exposure are already priced at a 7% discount

Many climate risks may become uninsurable: Insurance companies are starting to buy climate data from Moody’s and creating city-by-city insurance plans.

Climate data is being used to downgrade entire cities: When a city is downgraded, their ability to borrow goes down, making it harder to fund re-construction projects. As a result, people move out, and it continues to spiral.

The end of the 30-year mortgage: Full cities may change to 20 year or 15 year mortgages options

The cities with no climate risk will be the next gold rush.

Overall, the people who set ratings, cap rates, insurance rates, mortgage terms, as well as cities are taking climate risk into account, and so should you.

The State of Fundraising in 2021: Key Risk Areas for Capital Raisers in Today’s Regulatory Environment

H. Gregory Baker, Lowenstein Sandler LLP

Capital raising regulations have been relaxed over the past presidential administrations, but that is changing.

Section 5 of Securities Act: One of the most important rules in the federals securities laws. In 2020, 1/3rd of all SEC enforcement cases concerned offering of securities. The SEC does not need to prove that you intended to violate the rule: they just need to show that you violated the rule,

A security must be registered or have an exemption. The common exemptions are:

  • section 4(a)(2) of securities act, private placement exemption
  • Rule 506(b) of Reg D, private placement safe harbor
  • Rule 506(c) of Reg D, general solicitation
  • Reg. Crowdfunding, 
  • Intrastate offerings

The consequences for violating Section 5 can be severe. The investors can get their money back from you. The SEC can fine you. And your reputation will be harmed.

How people or companies get tripped up on Section 5

  • Relying on 506(c) but failing to ensure that your investors are accredited
  • Relying on 506(b) but you advertise
  • Relying on intrastate exemption but selling to investors in multiple states

Expect to see more of these cases under new leadership. Gregory’s advice is to work with your attorney to ensure you follow rules, and document how you followed rules.

How to Scale Your Syndication Business

Michael Blank, Nighthawk Equity

Who should consider building a thought leadership platform? Anyone raising money for real estate. Anyone who has already raised some money 1 to 1. Anyone who is ready to scale capital raising ability. Anyone who wants to raise millions of dollars in a few days.

What will a thought leadership platform achieve? Automatically attracts the right investor, raise more money so you can do bigger deals, create more revenue, invest revenue back into market to do more deals, effortlessly scale and serve your investors

Three pillars of a thought leadership platform

Attract:

Identify your ideal avatar: in order to attract the “right” audience who is interested in what you have to offer, you have to identify your ideal potential investor

Capture leads: when you attract the attention of your ideal avatar you need to know who they are. The best way to do that is to offer them a “Lead Magnet” in return for their email addresses

Develop:

Serve and lead: Serve your audience and earn their trust with valuable free content that educates them about investing in syndications. Serving = content = trust

Lead them on their investing journey with continuous content

Scale: Make a compelling offer that generates revenue and reinvest a portion of your revenue to attract more leads

How to automatically attract more passive investors

Create a lead magnet: When someone downloads a lead magnet, they get tagged in system as “downloaded”, and put on email list to receive educational emails

Join the club: After downloading the lead magnet, they are invited to fill out a detailed questionnaire, and get tagged as “joined”.

Schedule a call: Included is the option to schedule a call after filling out the questionnaire. After the call, they get tagged as “deal ready” and are now prepared to receive upcoming opportunities

Follow up automation: Automatically send follow-up emails to people tagged with “downloaded” and “joined” until they move forward in the process and set up a phone call or unsubscribe.

Multiplying Your Real Estate Portfolio

Deborah Razo, Women’s Real Estate Network

The secret success system blueprint: find success habits, cultivate habits through repetition, achieve mastery. This is a system that deals with growing systems and expanding your mindset.

The success cycle: potential, action, results, belief. The more we believe in our potential, the more action we will take and the more results we will achieve. The more results we achieve, the more we believe in our potential.

How to cultivate resourcefulness: Write down a problem and come up with three effective, intelligent, and viable solutions. Because one choice is no choice. Two choices is a dilemma. But three options and you are in the space of choices

Accelerate Your Returns Through Construction Management

Ashley Wilson, Bar Down Investments

A team member with construction knowledge is critical to maximizing the investment’s returns

Get creative: There is more than one way to solve a problem, so your focus and end goal should drive your solutions

Balance between evaluation & equity: Your focus should be on increasing equity, not the evaluation.

Time is money: Figuring out ways to decrease the time construction takes will maximize your return on investment

Building a Social Media Content Engine

David Toupin, Obsidian Capital & Real Estate Lab

Social media = attention = influence = income

Where to start

  • Focus on 1-3 platforms at first to get traction
  • Create Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube account to start, or pick one or two that you like and want to go with
  • Block out one day every week to record a few hours of content to stock pile content and post throughout the week
  • Block out 2 hours every day to post and interact with followers: respond to every comment and direct message 

How to create a social media content engine

Create lots of content one or two times per month: Either by yourself of hire a videographer for one or two sessions each month, and upload all the content to a DropBox folder

Hire an editor to create a content database: Use month’s worth of content to create longer videos, shorter videos, and pictures with caption. The goal is to create at least 10 social media posts per one hour of video content

Hire a content manager: The content manager will use the content database to compile one month’s worth of social media posts.

Determine what the focus of your content is going to be: All posts should be directed towards achieving your end goal

You approve the posts: Once the content manager has compiled a month’s worth of posts, you review and approve

Schedule the posts: After you’ve approved the posts, the content manger schedules them throughout the next month.

Rinse and repeat

Top social media tips

  • The number one secret to social media is consistency
  • The number two secret is focusing your niche
  • Be yourself, people will recognize if you’re not being real
  • Interact with your audience
  • Tell your story
  • You will automatically attract people that like the same things you like. That’s how the algorithm works
  • You do not need a fancy camera or equipment. Any modern cell phone is sufficient
  • Don’t worry about your current audience. Create your desired audience over time – either create a new account or start on your personal account
  • Don’t worry about what people might think about you. Have fund with it and be yourself
  • Comment on posts of other big influencers

UTH Workforce Housing: Pairing Private Capital with New Construction Workforce Housing

Scott Choppin, Urban Pacific group of Companies

What is workforce housing?

  • Built-to-rent, non-standard MF in historical terms – SF and attached townhome rental product
  • Below market rate rents
  • Housing for working families at 80% to 120% of median income: service sector/blue collar, large multigenerational family groups with 4-7 people
  • Housing for professional “location agnostic” roommate groups working remotely: location agnostic and use extra bedroom for remote work
  • Locations: urbanized suburbs of most major cities, close to amenities but not central business district

Why chose workforce housing as an investment?

Recession resilient

  • Deeply undersupplied
  • Multi-earner households (families or roommates), 
  • Multi-generational households (reduces poverty rates)
  • Work-from-home is accelerating absorption and rental rates

Sticky, long-term tenant base

  • Strong social networks: kids in school, family nearby
  • Economic sharing lifestyle: share income and expenses across the group
  • Naturally affordable rents without government subsidies

What is urban townhouse (UBH)? Designed and built-to-rent but lives like a house

  • Five bed/four bath, 1750 sqft.
  • Three-story townhouse
  • Two-car direct access private garage
  • Multigenerational and WFH space ground floor bedroom/bath
  • Located in existing urbanized suburban neighborhoods where families and work from home roommates want to live
  • Rent on average $3500 to $4000 per month
    • Value ratio $2 to $2.28 psf. (average 50% below market)
    • Per bedroom rent $700 per (40% to 50% below market)

Extended Stay Model – A Hidden Secret in the Hospitality Industry

Jennifer Maldonado, The Art of Raising Capital Program

Profitability and resiliency are the foundations to long-term profits.

During the pandemic, the extended stay hotel model worked well for first responders and essential workers.

Economy Extend Stay Hotels performed the best during the pandemic.

  • Top tier: occupancy is down 29.7% and average daily rates (ADR) are down 17%
  • Middle tier: occupancy is down 14.8% and ADR is down 13%
  • Economy tier: occupancy is down 3.1% and ADR is down 3.1%

Don’t chase the herd! Chase the returns!

Ash Patel, Rivershore Capital

By searching the MLS five times every day, Ash was able to know about properties before anyone else, even the brokers.

Don’t make excuses when things get hard.

As a commercial real estate landlord, your only job is to make sure that you tenant is successful: treat your tenant like a partner and they will take better care of your property

Success follows selfless acts for others.

Look for unconventional ways to by real estate.

Bringing Property Management In-House: Why, When, and How

Frank Roessler, Ashcroft Capital

Why bring property management in-house

To improve performance: The only real reason you to it. If you can’t do it better, don’t do it at all

Alignment of incentives: Move away from issues of fee-based management. No other clients of higher priority.

Improve communication: Faster awareness of property vitals. More involvement in property operations.

When to bring property management in-house

Pros and cons of bringing property management in-house day 1

  • Pros: 
    • zero disruption
    • small overhead: won’t have to build out an entire organization, which is expensive and time consuming 
    • reduced upfront costs: offices and employee benefits
  • Cons: 
    • no best practices: you will be learning on the job at the detriment of the first few properties
    • starting at a loss: one property will not cover cost of managing the property, won’t breakeven until you have a couple thousand units 
    • no industry top talent: don’t have a track record to attract best of the best

Pros and cons of bringing property management in-house when you have scale

  • Pros
    • Ability to attract top talent: people were eager to jump ship and provide a business plan
    • Starting with a profit margin: breakeven or make a little bit of money
    • Best practices: because you have the top talent
  • Cons
    • Major disruption: terminating contracts, providing notice, transition process, a million moving parts
    • Significant startup costs: hiring a full team before you even have revenue
    • Relationships can be hurt

How to bring property management in-house

  • Create a policies and procedures manual: a how-to guide for every single department and staff member in your portfolio
  • Hire a president to run the company: don’t reinvent the wheel, leverage that person’s knowledge, experience, leadership, and contacts.
  • Build out each department slowly and carefully before you take everything over: learning and development director, digital marketing director, revenue management, CFO, IT, HR, regional and area manager, regional maintenance director
  • Culture matters
  • Provide sufficient notice

Six Lessons in Becoming a Better Leader

Brandon Turner, BiggerPockets

The Four “Therefores”: Happiness and fulfillment is found through growth and achievement therefore, in order to grow, I need to focus on my superpower and less on other tasks therefore I need to hire a partner or outsource my non-superpower tasks, therefore I need to lead those people to where I desire therefore leadership is not an option for an incredible life

How to change your identity: mindset -> actions -> identity -> confidence -> actions …

You can be anything you want to be if you change your identity through your mindset actions and confidence

Brandon’s new mindset about leadership

  • My job is to be a general
  • Management is not leadership and leadership is not management
  • When you work with people you love and care for, it’s not work, it’s a beautiful life, a symbiotic relationship of mutual growth and respect
  • Leadership is the most manly of skills
  • Freedom is found through great leadership
  • Leadership is a skill

6 characteristics of a great leader

  • Quitter: find a way to quit your job as soon as possible by paying an expert to do it
  • Cutter: the one or two things you need to be doing
  • Caster: write down the vision for where you want your company to go
  • Coach: ask the right questions to improve performance of team
  • Scout: find and attract talent
  • Student: recognize you don’t know what you are doing and that you need to continually grow
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Top Takeaways From Every BEC2021 Day 1 Speaker

Four Steps to Build a Team That Lasts

Liz Faircloth, The Real Estate InvestHER

Step 1: Map out where you want to go: Determine your short-term (1 year) and long-term (3 and 5 year) goals. Define an overall vision.

Step 2: Take a personal inventory: Spend half a day figuring out everything you bring to the table from a credit (asset and liabilities), time, experience, skills, personality, and leadership perspective.

Step 3. Determine WHO you need to meet your goals and vision: Based on your business model, figure out the major roles you need to fill. Based on what you bring to the table, determine which roles you will fill and which roles you need a team member to fill

Step 4. Find people to gain alignment and diversity: The biggest mistake when building a team is lack of alignment (values, goals, expectations, entrepreneurial spirit) and lack of diversity (personality, risk, tolerance, skill set, experience). Leverage personality assessments to identify hires who complement your skills and gaps, and who are in complete alignment with your value.

Beyond the Pandemic: Adapting Investment Strategies to the New Normal

John Change, Marcus and Millichap

Vaccines are the key to the economic recovery: The amount of money in money market mutual funds and saving deposits are very high. There is the potential for $4.5 trillion to enter the economy once things are “back to normal” after the roll-out of the COVID vaccine.

Job growth and COVID: A record number of jobs were lost as 10 years worth of job growth were wiped out – 22M jobs. About half those jobs have come back. Hotels and restaurants were hit the worst and have yet to recover.

Retail and COVID: Retail was a mixed bag. It took a hit at the onset of the pandemic, hit a high after economic stimulus and has started dropping again. Restaurants, bars, electronic, and apparel sales were hit the hardest while home repairs and internet sales are at an all-time high.

Huge GDP growth forecasts: GDP is forecasted to grow between 5% and as high as 7.5% in 2021, which would be a 30+ year high.

Top myths of the pandemic

  • Huge wave of evictions are coming: rent collections are down YoY but are much better than expected due to economic stimulus
  • Widespread distress will spark significant discounting: distressed sales are 1% of total transactions, and delinquencies are well below distressed market levels
  • The retail apocalypses: rent collections on retail have surpassed expectations and are being dragged down by entertainment, restaurants, and health centers

2021 Trends

  • Class B and C multifamily: due to record levels of construction, Class A vacancy is increasing while Class B and C vacancy is at record lows
  • Self-storage: occupancy hit all time high Q3 of 2020

 

Seven Lessons Learned With $2.8 Billion of Real Estate During COVID

Jillian Helman, RealtyMogul

Lesson #1. Play defense before an economic crisis, not during a crisis: Three things to do during economic expansion to prepare for economic recessions: underwrite well and don’t do deals that don’t met your underwriting criteria; have a strong property management team in place; have open conversations with your lenders to ensure they will pick up your call during a recession.

Lesson #2. The proforma is always wrong: When creating your proforma for a new opportunity, have a minimum contingency budget of at least 10%, scale back the number of units you expect to renovate and lease, assume an exit cap rate that is 1% greater than cap rate at purchase, and increase vacancy and bad debt to stress test.

Lesson #3. Take a breath and be deliberate: Jillian’s top priorities are the health and safety of residents and team, keeping occupancy up, and shoring up cash reserves. This involved taking a deep breathe and deliberating to determine how to best focus on these priorities. She decided to halt renovations, rent increases, and all nonessential repairs.

Lesson #4. Don’t be afraid to innovate: For example, Jillian began using virtual, self-guided tours.

Lesson #5. Do experiments and test the market: In the example above where Jillian experimented with virtual tours, the conversion rate was higher than in-person tours with a leasing agent. Since the experiment works, she doubled down.

Lesson #6. Be a stellar communicator: Provide detailed monthly updates to investors, communicate what you are proactively doing, and be available and receptive to investors.

Lesson #7. Take a position: During COVID, this started by overcoming fear. Then, Jillian took an offensive position, assumed the world wasn’t ending, that the world would recover, and that data supported that investing still made sense.

What makes her afraid?

  • Silicon valley tenants/master leases with no credit quality a la We Work
  • Office with significant roll over (exception if the cash flow is strong enough to return full principal prior to roll over)
  • Retail unless it is main-and-main
  • Hospitality in all markets
  • Impact of insurance costs rising in markets like Florida and Texas
  • Modeling a refinance with Fannie Freddie debt less than a 4.5% to 5% all-in rate
  • Sitting in cash when inflation starts to rise

Where does she see opportunity?

  • Well-occupied apartments with reasonable bad debt financed with long-term fixed rate debt
  • New construction in growth markets with a late 2022/2033+ delivery
  • Growth markets – Austin, Dallas, Denver, Raleigh, Charlotte, Columbus, Phoenix, Jacksonville, Salt Lake City, Nashville
  • Office with long term credit tenants and a functional need to be in an office
  • NNN with great tenants
  • Retail at main-and-main trading at a discount
  • Not yet, but NYC, LA, Miami in 2022/2033

 

How to Bulletproof Your Mind for Extraordinary Real Estate Success in 2021

Trevor McGregor, Trevor McGregor International

Your mind is like a fertile garden. Whatever you plant, the soil will return, and your thoughts are the seeds. Plant positive powerful thoughts. To avoid too many weeks growing, you must stand guard at the door of your mind.

The two things that happen during the prime years of your life: The prime years of your life are between 25 to 65 years old. This is when you have the most opportunity as well as when the most regrets are formed.

TFEMAR: a thought turns into a feeling; feeling into an emotion; emotion into motivation; motivation to take an action; the action has a result. Therefore, your thoughts equals your results.

The 4S Success Formula: To be successful, you need to be in the right state, have the right story, the right strategy, and the right stands. Your state is your physiology, focus, and language. Your story is your identity – you are either a victim or a victor. Your strategy should be based on a character trait integration – what would so-and-so successful person do?

2021 Forecast for Apartment Investing

Brad Sumrok, Apartment Investor Mastery

2020 performance highlights

  • 2020 ended up a pretty darn good year for apartments
  • Lost 22M jobs and now down 10M – correlated with apartments
  • Occupancy dropped 60bps
  • Rents went down only 1%
  • Price per door went up and cap rates went down, so investors ‘net worth went up by owning deals

Jobs and population growth are the top two economic factors that make multifamily tick: Migration growth is important but the market must also be landlord and business friendly

Sumrok process for double digit returns

  • 1st investment is specialized education
  • Define why, SMART goals, investment criteria
  • Stabilized and value-add
  • Select the right market
  • Leverage OPE, OPT, OPM (including syndication)
  • >60 units for economic of scale
  • C and B class
  • Be dynamic (i.e., now A Class in recessed markets)
  • Exponential and expansive mindset

How to select the right target market

  • Landlord and business friendly
  • Above average cap rates
  • Above average job growth
  • Above average pop growth
  • Above average affordability gap: rent of median apartment unit < PITI of median SFR
  • Understanding local “markets” and cycles: boots on the ground
  • =highest returns and lower risk

2021 Forecast

  • 3,695,100 new jobs up 2.6% and 2.9% in 2022
  • Job growth strongest in white collar (Class A)
  • Occupancy down 40bps due to new supply
  • Rents up 1% in 2021 and 4.1% in 2022
  • Construction up 14.5%
  • Top 2021 markets: Atlanta, DFW, Austin, Houston, Tampa, Jacksonville, Phoenix, Columbus, Denver, CO Springs, NC, Nashville, Knoxville, Indianapolis

In one year from now, if you waited, you will regret it.

How to Write Off Almost Anything

Karlton Dennis, Karla Dennis and Associates

The two kinds of tax payers you don’t want to be

  • Ultra-aggressive: don’t know how to leverage tax codes but goal is pay least amount of taxes as possible
  • Ultra conservative: don’t want to take any of the deductions they qualify for and are afraid to reduce taxes because they’ve been living in fear (listening to info online, news, past CPAs, etc.)

Four simple steps to following the tax code

  • You must have a business: run your business like a business, have a time investment in a business, have a mentor or coach, have a business and strategy
  • Your business expenses must have a business purpose: there is not a list in IRS handbook that says what you can and cannot write off. If it is ordinary, necessary, reasonable in pursuit of income, it can be deducted
  • Proof of payments: keeping copy of receipts is important because it is documentation of exactly what you spend your money on – what is business and what is not business. Take pictures of your receipts
  • Expenses properly reported: If you are trying to do tax planning on your own, you will fail.

Most common tax nuances

  • Not keeping property receipts
  • Recording keeping is muddled
  • Miscategorized expenses
  • Late on bookkeeping

How the wealthy stay in the 0% to 15% tax bracket: organization and a strategic tax plan.

Passive Investor Tips for Investing in Multifamily Syndications

Travis Watts, Ashcroft Capital

What is financial freedom? When your passive income exceeds your lifestyle expenses.

What is the right investment criteria? There is no right or wrong investment criteria. What matters are your goals and your risk tolerance.

Difference between passive and active investing

  • Passive: Lacks time, enjoys reading financial news, likes to own a little bit of a lot, seeks to match not beat the stock market
  • Active: Enjoys the business of real estate, may not value diversification as top priority, seeks to control investments, has an advantage of competition, seeks to beat the market
  • Active is hands on, passive is hands off

2021’s Place in the Housing Cycle

John Burns, Burns Real Estate Consulting

High demand: 

  • Consumers made $1.03T more than usual last year due to government stimulus 
  • Consumers spend $535B less than usually last year, despite spending more on goods
  • Consumers saved an additional $1.6T in 2020 compared to 2020
  • Most homeowners and potential new home buyers are far better off financially today than a year ago
  • Google search has risen 56% for new homes, 9% for new homes
  • Millions of workers no longer need to commute

Low supply: 

  • Home listings are down over 40% YoY
  • New supply has fallen – 10% fewer communities to sell from YoY
  • Unsold new homes dropped 69% YoY

High demand + low supply = 2021 housing boom: John says we are clearly in an upcycle.

Unlocking the Fund of Funds Model

Hunter Thompson, Asym Capital

Traditional real estate partnership: Capital partner and operating partner form management LLC that purchases real estate

Co-GP model: multiple capital partners and operating partner form management LLC that purchases RE – SEC doesn’t like, especially with increasing number of capital partners

SPV/Fund of Funds:

  • SPV: special purpose vehicle
  • Considered a pass through entity
  • Doesn’t mean there are multiple assets
  • A bunch of investors invest in a SPV, there is a manager of the SPV (placement agent) who invests with another operator

Why would anyone invest through an SPV instead of investing directly with an operator?

  • Your clients desire your expertise
  • Gives them access to otherwise unavailable operators: high minimum investment
  • The dream clients you have attracted have picked you to rely on
  • Provides investors an opportunity to defer to your due diligence
  • Most investors are not like you 
  • The economies of scale are not necessarily less favorable

Preferential treatment of SPVs

  • Operators prefer to focus on implementing the business plan not investor relations/fund administration
  • You can leverage what you are bring to the table as a negotiation tool to receive preferential economic treatment
  • Many operators are willing to forego some of the economies in order to receive larger checks

Three Things it Takes to Make the Inc 5000

Defining your culture: Start with your why. why do you do what you do? Why do you go to work in the morning? Then, transcribe your why into a one or two sentence mission statement to inspire you and your team to show up.

Next is to know where you are going and what the end state looks like. This is your vision – what does success look like to you.

Third is to define your values. These are the behaviors you want to see in your organization.

Last is to avoid the say-do gap. Be care that you don’t say one thing and do another, because then your culture isn’t believable.

Developing your plan: Understand what you are going before you do it, but set a time limit. A good rule of thumb is to understand and education yourself for 90 days, develop a plan for 90 days, then go out and take action.

A good strategic plan includes three goals, three to five objectives, and multiple key results over a three year period.

Assemble your team: First, understand your strengths and weaknesses. This is best accomplished by asking your friends, and especially your spouse. Then, find people who fulfill your weaknesses.

When hiring people, focus on their character more than their competencies. You can teach competencies but you cannot teach character. Then, focus on experience but understand their track record to ensure they were successful because of skill and not luck.

Why Consider Industrial: The Case for Industrial Syndications

Monick Halm, Real Estate Investor Goddess

What is industrial real estate: all land and buildings which accommodate industrial activities

Why consider industrial real estate

    • Escape the feeding frenzy that exists in other asset classes
    • Diversify your portfolio
    • Long-term NNN leases with excellent tenants
    • Increasing demand by companies (especially e-commerce)
    • Strongest performing asset class throughout the pandemic

What is the current state of the market for industrial real estate:

  • Industrial spaces are being used by essential businesses –
  • Industrial has been the strong asset class during the COVID pandemic
  • Rents are going up and occupancy is going up

Institutional Capital Demystified

Lance Pederson, Verivest

Having a fund is a more efficient way to capitalize.

Being an operator is like owning a trucking company and having to own a refinery create your own fuel. 

Institutional capital is the equivalent of owning a job

There’s a reason why you’re seeing sponsors with 30+ year track records raising capital on crowdfunding websites because the cost of capital is much cheaper

Create Class A and Class B shares to attract HNWI, SPVs, institutional investors, etc.

Institutional readiness checklist

    • Conviction/differentiated strategy
    • Polished online presence
    • Pitch deck/executive summary
    • Due diligence questionnaire
    • Verified track record
    • Investor references
    • Secure data room
    • Quarterly reporting

If you focus on building your HNWI base, the rest well come.

Five Evolutionary Ideas for Your Business

Joe Fairless, Ashcroft Capital

Protect against biggest liability you’re currently not paying enough attention to: For 99% of syndicators, compliance. Most securities attorneys are really good at answering the questions you ask, but your are still at risk when you aren’t asking the right questions. The solution is to hire a an in-house compliance team member and acquire the proper insurance.

Bring the best out of your team: create a single KPI for each team member or a one sentence description of what their roles is so they know exactly what is expected of them and to motivate them to exceed their KPI for a bonus.

Enjoy better deal flow, deliver better returns, and create more sanity: create a fund instead of single asset purchases. It increases deal flow because you can be more flexible with the types of assets you target. It generates better returns because you can commingle capital within a fund, so there is less ideal capital.

Get better results on your thought leadership platform and in your commercial real estate business: Once your thought leadership platform matures, transition it to other people. They can focus on growing the brand and you can focus on growing the investing business.

The success paradox: The more successful you become in business, the less likely you will receive constructive criticism from your team members. The solution is to find three people in your circle who will provide you with honest feedback. Also, identify an event that didn’t go according to plan and think about how you were responsible for it taking place.

Intellectual Debate: Interest Rates Will Be Higher in 24 Months

Hunter Thompson, Asym Capital; Neal Bawa, Grocapitus Investments; John Chang, Marcus and Millichap; Ryan Smith, Elevation Capital Group

Winner – Interest rates will not be higher in 24 months

  • The question shouldn’t be, “will interest rates be higher,” the question is “how low will interest rates go and when will they go negative?” Hunter says many industrials countries already have zero and negative interest rates.
  • Japan is the new mode: in response to an 80% drop in their stock and real estate markets, they decided to print money to halt unemployment. This money printing will not end in the foreseeable future, and is being mimicked by other industrialized countries. Therefore, rising interest rates would blog up the global economy
  • The trend is your friend and don’t fight the Fed. The trend has been down and to the right for more than 40 years. Fed said they will keep the funds rate at 0% through 2024

Losers – Interest rates will be higher in 24 months

  • There isn’t evidence that the Fed will continue lowering interest rates. The prediction is based on the desire of real estate investors to see lower interest rates
  • Fed will rise interest rates to control inflation: $5 trillion in stimulus money was injected into the economy, increasing the money supply to an all-time high. GDP is forecasted to grow between 5% and 7%, which means inflation.
  • Fed always rises interest rates after recessions
  • Fed sees pandemic as a short-term risk, which means the Fed has changed its position

State of Multifamily Market: Apartments in the Age of COVID

Robert Calhoun, CoStar

The spring leasing season wasn’t lost: It was just pushed back later into the year. We lost 61k units in demand between March and June 2020 and gained 69k units in demand between July to November.

Demand in the suburbs are strong while multifamily continues to underperform in downtown areas

  • One bed rent: drop overall at onset but suburban bounced back while downtown dropped significantly 
  • NYC rents by commute time: 12% increase in rents in areas with 51 to 60 minute commute times, 9% reduction in rents for areas with commute times less than 10 minute
  • Densely populated metro areas had really bad net absorption
  • Change in asking rent from March to Dec: Downtown markets top list of markets with greatest decrease and suburban markets top list of markets with greatest decreases
  • 2021 YTD rent change: mix of downtown and suburban areas with increases in rents
  • Concessions: nearly triple for downtown and only slightly higher for the suburbs
  • Availability rate: spiked nationally, getting better which was driven by suburbs. Rates were massively elevated in downtown areas but improved quickly
  • Rent trends by unit type: two-bed are in more demand than one-bed, underperformance of studios
  • Starts and under construction: massive supply wave over last five years but constructions have rolled over in 2020 especially starts
  • Under construction by star rating: vast majority are high end expensive properties largely in downtown areas, lack of supply of affordable housing
  • Rents by star rating: 3 star rents returns to normal seasonal patterns while 4 and 5 star has underperformed
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My 5 Takeaways from BEC2021 Day 2

The Top 10 Things to Ask Before Investing

Ryan Gibson, Spartan Investment Group

Your interview with the operator

  • Ask open ended questions: When interviewing operators, see if they are interested in what you have to say
  • Write down notes
  • Keep a log of operator Q&A
  • Portfolio projects
  • Referrals
  • Property location

Are they an operator or syndicator? Determine what role the company plays. How are they compensated, how are they aligned with you? Are they aligned with the success of the project?

Tell me about a deal gone bad? This is Ryan’s favorite question. Having no deals that have gone bad indicates low experience or a lie while having deals that have gone bad helps you judge the grit of the syndicator. 

What is their mission, vision, and values? Does their mission, vision, values, align with yours? Ask them to give an example of how they’ve used their values recently.

Who is on the team? Are they a one-man band or do they have a deep bench? Are they vertically integrated? Are they using the fees they charge to hire a great team or to pay themselves?

What is their core business model? Selling education? Working elsewhere? Focused on deals? Gurus?

What is your investor communication plan? Ask for last three communications to get a better understanding of their communication style. Is the plan in writing? Can you verify property performance against projections?

What is the performance of their portfolio?

  • Historical performance (proforma vs actual): comparison is more important than absolute return since it gives you the right context
  • Was it project level IRR or investor IRR: total project may look better than investor level
  • Consistent metrics: Ryan likes to use equity multiple and how long it took gives true time tested return, IRR might be misleading or not the best metric

Obtain reference and conduct a background check

  • Don’t ask for a reference, find your own, because no one gives bad references
  • Find others that have invested in the company
  • BBB, Google reviews, 506 Group, etc. – search for the company name and name of the principles

Insurance

  • Does SEC attorney provide E&O insurance to cover for lawsuits
  • What exclusions are included on their title insurance?
  • Is there property insurance at least from an A rated Carrier?

Decision to exit

  • What would make an operator exit early? What is their justification for selling?
  • Have they sold early in the past? How many time and, how did the actual returns compare to projections?
  • How do they brief investors?

 

The Devastating Impact of Climate Change on Your Real Estate Investments in the Next 10 Years

Neal Bawa, Grocapitus

Impact of climate change in 2020 and questions to think about

  • 2020 had $95B in damage from climate disasters
  • What will happen to your investments when taxes increase to pay for massive sea walls?
  • Where will the money come from to fix Texas’s power grid?
  • In California, the six greatest wildfires happened in 2020, and will double in five years. How will this impact California cap rates?
  • Cities with sea level rise exposure are already priced at a 7% discount

Many climate risks may become uninsurable: Insurance companies are starting to buy climate data from Moody’s and creating city-by-city insurance plans.

Climate data is being used to downgrade entire cities: When a city is downgraded, their ability to borrow goes down, making it harder to fund re-construction projects. As a result, people move out, and it continues to spiral.

The end of the 30-year mortgage: Full cities may change to 20 year or 15 year mortgages options

The cities with no climate risk will be the next gold rush.

Overall, the people who set ratings, cap rates, insurance rates, mortgage terms, as well as cities are taking climate risk into account, and so should you.

How to Automatically Get More Passive Investors

Michael Blank, Nighthawk Equity

Create a lead magnet: When someone downloads a lead magnet, they get tagged in system as “downloaded”, and put on email list to receive educational emails

Join the club: After downloading the lead magnet, they are invited to fill out a detailed questionnaire, and get tagged as “joined”.

Schedule a call: Included is the option to schedule a call after filling out the questionnaire. After the call, they get tagged as “deal ready” and are now prepared to receive upcoming opportunities

Follow up automation: Automatically send follow-up emails to people tagged with “downloaded” and “joined” until they move forward in the process and set up a phone call or unsubscribe.

How to Create a Social Media Content Engine

David Toupin, Obsidian Capital & Real Estate Lab

Create lots of content one or two times per month: Either by yourself of hire a videographer for one or two sessions each month, and upload all the content to a DropBox folder

Hire an editor to create a content database: use month’s worth of content to create longer videos, shorter videos, and pictures with caption. The goal is to create at least 10 social media posts per one hour of video content

Hire a content manager: the content manager will use the content database to compile one month’s worth of social media posts.

Determine what the focus of your content is going to be: All posts should be directed towards achieving your end goal

You will approve the posts: Once the content manager has compiled a month’s worth of posts, you review and approve

Schedule the posts: After you’ve approved the posts, the content manger schedules them throughout the next month.

Rinse and repeat

When to Bring Property Management In-House

Frank Roessler, Ashcroft Capital

Day 1: Pros and cons

Pros: 

  • zero disruption
  • small overhead: won’t have to build out an entire organization, which is expensive and time consuming 
  • reduced upfront costs: offices and employee benefits

Cons: 

  • no best practices: you will be learning on the job at the detriment of the first few properties
  • starting at a loss: one property will not cover cost of managing the property, won’t breakeven until you have a couple thousand units 
  • no industry top talent: don’t have a track record to attract best of the best

When you have scale: Pros and cons

Pros

  • Ability to attract top talent: people were eager to jump ship and provide a business plan
  • Starting with a profit margin: breakeven or make a little bit of money
  • Best practices: because you have the top talent

Cons

  • Major disruption: terminating contracts, providing notice, transition process, a million moving parts
  • Significant startup costs: hiring a full team before you even have revenue
  • Relationships can be hurt
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Webinar Recap: Looking to Note Investing in the Global Health Crisis

The performance of real estate notes was a bellwether for the economy in the last recession, so in this Best Ever Webinar we explored the performance of 1st position and 2nd position notes, how the market has been affected by COVID, and what the data indicates about the real estate market at large.

As a servicer of tens of thousands of first position notes, Jorge Newbery pointed to the $4MM loans currently in forbearance, which are on the precipice of foreclosure after government intervention comes to an end.

The counterargument speared by Kathleen Kramer was that the $4MM homes don’t represent the volume of homes in trouble, but in part those taking advantage of the situation. She also pointed to all-time highs in homeowners equity relative to average debt amounts and record low interest rates that could allow troubled homeowners to be bailed out by refinances.

Jim Maffucio added that we see the unemployment rate dropping and average HHI of homeowners being significantly higher than the last recession where subprime mortgages were provided to low wage earners.

Regardless, all agreed that the amount of unpredictability in the future has returned to normal along with pricing for notes, suggesting that for the time being the market has an optimistic outlook on the future of residential real estate.

What the future holds for commercial notes is a larger question with retail and hotels going to double digit CMBS special servicing rates. Will there be opportunity to buy distressed office notes? Whispers of the opportunity are just beginning and it could be too early to see what the future holds.

Watch the on-demand playback of this webinar and past webinars on our conference platform NOW! Our networking has started for this year’s Best Ever Conference, don’t miss out! Use code WINNERS30 for 30% off your ticket here.

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Beyond the Comfort Zone

Stephane Rochet shares how making a plan for success also means creating a plan to push your own boundaries

In the early 2000s, Stephane Rochet worked as a police officer in his community. During his shifts and interactions with his fellow officers, he noticed many of them were often discussing their real estate investments and what was happening in the world of “alternate investments.” After leaving the police force in 2007, he still recalls that environment as the place where he first learned about the potential of real estate investing.

“It was just a realization that the traditional stocks, bonds, put money into your 401(k) and hope for the best, wasn’t working for me,” remembers Stephane. “So, I started to look for other alternatives, and that’s where it started me [into real estate investing], and then the journey continues.”

Stephane moved with his wife and two children to San Diego, California, to pursue a career in the field of athletic performance, specifically around the strength and conditioning of athletes. He also started investing in single-family houses, kickstarting what would become a very active interest in multifamily syndication and the alternate investments he used to hear so much about.

To grow, Stephane began to seek networking opportunities to build relationships and connections with like-minded investors. After several lackluster experiences with local meetups, Stephane realized that the Best Ever Conference presented serious options for personal growth and learning opportunities.

“I made three simple goals. I’m a little bit of an introvert, so going to this, I said, ‘Hey, look, you have to get out of your comfort zone and meet people.’ There were a few people that I had met with or talk to, or emailed or Facebooked before going, and I said, “Well when I’m there, I’m going to actually meet them in person and talk to them.” remembers Stephane. “I had a list of about four names of people who I had contacted previously, had been in touch with, and I sought them out, met them, we had discussions, and they introduced me to other people.”

Meeting people beyond Stephane’s known network was the ultimate goal. He found it easy to achieve, given the conference’s tools, to connect with attendees and plan your experience before arriving on-site.

“I was just determined to meet five new people every day, and that was easy because you had presenters. You’d go sit in a room with presenters, and you just talked to the people beside you while you’re waiting,” said Stephane. “Because I’m new and learning, I wanted to make sure to take advantage of the presenters that were there, so I looked at the schedule beforehand and set out my schedule and made sure I got to see all the presenters that I was interested in.”

As with most conferences, the real test is what you’re able to do with the knowledge you gained once you arrived home. For Stephane, it was not only useful but remained to be empowering on his real estate journey.

“I don’t know if I really realized it until I was on the flight home, but I just felt really excited and a lot more confidence that A, we could do this thing, B, we were on the right track, and C, you didn’t need to be, especially gifted,” said Stephane. “I mean, obviously, you have to get the knowledge, and you have to have some skills, but there were so many regular people just like me out there that were plugging away and doing the same thing.”

In the landscape of COVID-19, Stephane believes that the environment of meaningful relationships and networking comes slightly more complicated. However, not all things have to get harder. In fact, it’s Stephane’s philosophy on real estate investing as a whole that truly relies on keeping things simple.

“It’s so easy to get into the weeds, but an investor doesn’t really care about that, especially on the first call or anything,” said Stephane. “Just remember to keep it a simple, broad picture, and explain things in a way that people can just grasp it and understand why it’s a good investment or why it’s a good path to follow.”

This year at the Best Ever Conference, taking place February 18-20th, there is a full day dedicated to networking. Start networking now and use code WINNERS30 for 30% off your ticket! Register here.

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Networking in 2021

As any real estate investing pro can attest, networking is an irreplaceable factor in the success of active and passive investors. In a world catapulted into the virtual space during 2020, many investors have struggled to find how to network impactfully.

With meet-up groups delayed and in-person meetings on hold, the virtual space is now the only space to network. While many are postponing conferences, some are taking advantage of the opportunity to join in on virtual networking from right where they are.

A previous conference attendee said, “This is the lowest barrier to entry because you don’t have to leave your living room. You don’t have to buy a plane ticket. So if you’re thinking about going, you really don’t have an excuse.”

The goal of our virtual Best Ever Conference is to provide maximum value to each attendee in both insights and networking opportunities. The conference is filled with speakers and content focused on our audience’s curated needs and interests. We have a whole day set aside for networking and we strongly encourage you to take advantage of our exceptional platform that makes virtual networking easy. Some of the ways you can connect:

• Set 1-on-1 Meetings with Other Attendees
• Join Q&A Rooms for the Latest Topics
• Enter the Networking Lounge with Custom Table Topics
• Speed Networking to Make as Many Connections as Possible
• Playback Any Keynote Speaker on Demand

Our platform is open to attendees NOW. Start your networking. Use code WINNERS30 for 30% off your ticket! Register here.

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To Create Something Meaningful

How artist-at-heart Marc Cortez evolved his technology and media business success into a passive investment career

Creativity and connection fueled the early stages of Marc Cortez’s career. He thrived in competitive, start-up environments where the stakes were high, but the growth opportunities were endless. After building thriving social presences for some of the world’s biggest brands, Marc evolved his business savvy into advising budding entrepreneurs to raise capital and develop their business plans. It didn’t take Marc long to start formulating business plans of his very own.

Almost ten years and several successful ventures later, Marc finds himself exclusively in the investor seat at his firm Cortez Holdings Group. The creation of this investment group was made possible by the successes achieved in his earlier career.

“I’m an artist at heart, but my passion for real estate was inspired by the freedom I can create in my life,” said Marc. “Professionally, I spent the last ten years in tech and media turning big wins into passive investments by way of syndications. I’m consistently pursuing ways to grow my portfolio and increase my cash flow.”

Growing his portfolio and increasing cash flow has been significantly impacted through attending conferences like the Best Ever Conference. A long-time attendee, Marc began attending as a volunteer to help a friend. What started as a simple act of friendship turned into a consistent presence each year, where Marc now ushers VIP guests throughout the event.

Beyond simply attending the event, Marc’s most memorable takeaway is essential for investors of all skill levels to keep in mind.

“Make one really good friend. It’s easy to run around dropping ‘cards’ off and playing the quantity over quality game. But one incredible connection can open up an entire world,” said Marc. “I’ve seen deals and business partnerships sprout and excel from these relationships. So build a healthy connection with at least one person and be amazed at the future potential.”

Personal connections have changed the way that Marc views his personal investments, finding that the personal element often helps propel deals far faster than they would otherwise go.

“Discussing a potential sponsor with people in the same sphere or community also helps with diligence. It’s easier to get a recommendation or review,” shared Marc.

Understanding another key component of relationships is critical in bringing value to investments: how people handle adversity.

“I have a longstanding relationship with the partners [at an investment group], and I trust that my best interest as an investor is a priority, but even more so that a great relationship is a priority,” said Marc. “I can recall countless examples of how they’ve supported me inside the investment and out.”

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Living Life Fully

Dave Allred discusses what it looks like to define a path for success while making the most of each moment along the way

Discussing finances was something that wasn’t done in Dave Allred’s family growing up. Having never had those critical conversations around money or money management, Dave realized in his early adult life that he wanted more for himself around financial understanding and financial freedom.

At age 21, he committed to becoming a lifelong student of finances and investing. While he actively continues pursuing knowledge and personal development today, he credits much of his success, both personally and professionally, to that commitment very early in his life.

“I think it’s really important in our personal development is that we’re always teachable and coachable,” shared Dave. “That’s just been a guiding principle of mine is to always be a lifelong student. Not only in finances but also in real estate, personal development with my own family.”

While networking may be a topic that can make some uncomfortable, Dave rethinks networking as truly prioritizing relationships. It’s authenticity and relevancy that distinguishes the development of relationships from mere networking, which Dave believes can often come across as “gimmicky” or forced in certain situations.

“I feel like relationships are the new currency in business. My best deals, the business that I’m most proud of, has actually been with my friends, with my network,” shared Dave. “They’re people that I trust and that we have similar interests; we’re on the same mission in life.”

Relationship building has never been more critical than in our current environment, where how those relationships are built has had to be rethought due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. While conferences like Best Ever Conference are transitioning to a virtual platform to foster a sense of community and connection, Dave believes that meaningful relationships can continue to form beyond these virtual events.

“The power of social media and staying connected through Facebook groups, my Instagram page allows me to put a lot of content out there just to keep adding value for others. I follow on Instagram a lot of the people that I really respect,” said Dave. “While that’s not as personal as meeting in-person or on a call, I feel like we can still stay very connected, know what we’re working on, what we’re up to. I’m inspired by a lot of others in the space through social media. It’s a very powerful tool to be able to still communicate, add value for each other, and really collaborate.

Beyond a continuous drive to learn also lives a desire to document and measure success. Dave spent a significant amount of time creating his “lifestyle design”, or what he calls a blueprint for his own life. By documenting his core values, mission statement, non-negotiables, and more, he could use those as a foundation to build financial success on top.

“People overestimate what they can accomplish in one year, but they underestimate what they can accomplish in three to five years. I found that to be true over and over,” said Dave. “If we can get clear on what we really want in the long-term and have the right habits and behavior then we can actually accomplish amazing, significant things, but it takes time.”

Start your networking today at the Best Ever Conference, taking place February 18-20th. Use code WINNERS30 for 30% off your ticket! Register here.

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The Art of Doing

Rob Withers explains how the world around him inspires his philosophy behind real estate

Born and raised in Arizona, Rob Withers moved to Colorado for college and found his home. He spent a large bulk of his life fully engrossed in all the outdoor activities that Colorado has to offer. From mountain biking to hiking to skiing, Rob took advantage of being outdoors whenever he could. The only time that seemed not to be possible was when he worked as a technology consultant for more than 25 years but discovered real estate investing on the side.

Only a few years out of college in the 1990s, Rob invested in several single-family rental homes in Arizona and Colorado. The time commitment of his family and a full-time job at a multinational consulting firm kept him from fully investing his time to learn what was necessary to attain true success and the desired returns on his investments. Leaving the investing world feeling discouraged, another opportunity presented itself that changed how Rob invested both then and for his foreseeable future.

“Around 2010, a good friend of mine who was a realtor said to me, “Lakewood Housing Authority is selling off all this inventory, duplexes, single-family homes. The income’s great. You should really look at this. I know you dabbled in real estate a while ago.” And he had the contract to sell off 40 or 50 doors,” remembered Rob. “And so at the time I bought three duplexes, and the math was totally different than it was in the ’90s. Since then, I expanded buying more rentals and developed a partnership with a builder to build single-family homes and duplexes in Denver.”

The transition from single-family properties to duplexes opened Rob’s eyes to the multifamily syndication model. Rob bought and sold a 64 unit multi-family property in 2019. Over the last few years, he’s been transitioning more of his time, energy, and financial resources to diversify his investment portfolio and develop relationships in the real estate investing community.

Attending conferences like the Best Ever Conference in 2019 was an easy decision for Rob to make, given his close geographical proximity to Keystone. He was also inspired to lean into his desire to learn and do more within real estate.

“I was impressed with the quality of the people at the conference. Many have had successful careers and are learning the business” said Rob. “But then there are others that are a little bit more mature and have been around the block a bit longer but are still very approachable and still willing to discuss deals. I feel like I learned a lot and met great people.”

When thinking about the impact of what COVID-19 has on the reality of networking in 2021, Rob believes there are definite impacts for new relationship building, especially if real estate investing is not your primary occupation.

“For me personally, I still feel like there’s so much more I could do on the real estate side, simply around networking if I didn’t have the challenge of 40 to 50 hour a week job. So that does impact me,” reflects Rob. “But there are certainly tools that can help; I think a key for a conference where there’s a larger group setting is to create a form of engagement where there can be joint participation.”

This year at the Best Ever Conference, taking place February 18-20th, there is a full day dedicated to networking. Start networking now and use code WINNERS30 for 30% off your ticket! Register here.

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Eyes on the Skies

Lifelong pilot Tait Duryea shares how his passion for real estate soared after the Best Ever Conference experience.

An active lifestyle was always in the cards for Tait Duryea. Alongside his avid love of flying, Tait had always been intrigued by real estate investing. Not long after he started his career as a pilot, he purchased his first rental property in Las Vegas, Nevada at the age of 24.

“It was just a single-family house in Las Vegas. I put a property manager between me and the tenants, so they wouldn’t know how young I was,” remembered Tait. From that single-family home onward, he fell in and out of real estate investments without a particular strategy. Being newer to real estate, he discovered the Best Ever Conference taking place in Denver in 2019 and decided to take part.

“The catalyst for getting me more active with [real estate] was Best Ever Conference. It was the first conference that I had ever attended and it just catapulted my career from being someone who was new to the ropes from reading books and listening to podcasts, to being someone who did real estate and had a real estate network, because it’s all about relationships,” said Tait. “It launched my true real estate investing career, got me out of single-family [investments] and into commercial and syndication.”

Passive investments, like multi-family syndication, weren’t something that Tait was even aware existed prior to the Best Ever Conference. During the event in 2019, a mock debate whether active or passive investing was better took place, prompting some new thinking.

To many, the concept of networking can seem artificial, forced, or even trite. However, relationship building proved to be an essential element that Tait took from the Best Ever Conference, retaining relationships forged over that weekend into his real estate transactions today. The absolute, exponential power of relationships in the real estate investing business is something that Tait believes is worth experiencing and contributing to.

“Just having a network of like-minded real estate investors who you know personally and that your friends with is rocket fuel,” said Tait. “And unless you’ve been to a conference and you start talking with other people who are doing things like you are and have ideas and contacts and people that can help in what you’re trying to do, it’ll change your investing career.”

Attending the Best Ever Conference ultimately changed how Tait invested, shifting 50% of his investment portfolio into finding, vetting, and investing in limited partnership syndication deals instead of all active investments in single and multi-family homes.

Tait believes there’s never been a better year to try it out.

“This is the lowest barrier to entry because you don’t have to leave your living room,” said Tait. “You don’t have to buy a plane ticket. So if you’re thinking about going, you really don’t have an excuse.”

Start your networking today at the Best Ever Conference, taking place February 18-20th. Use code WINNERS30 for 30% off your ticket! Register here.

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WEBINAR: Looking to Note Investing in the Global Health Crisis

TOPIC: Looking to Note Investing in the Global Health Crisis

When a recession hits the commercial real estate market, an under the radar asset class flourishes while the rest flounders. Distressed notes are derivatives of real estate ownership that express a low-risk alternative to real estate, often highly discounted. Join us to hear how experts in the space have been deploying multiple strategies to produce stellar ROI even during the toughest of times.

TIME: Feb 11, 2021 [02:00] PM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)

REGISTER HERE

 

Featured Panel:

Jorge Newbery

Founder & CEO preREO & AHP Servicing

With over 30 years of experience in distressed asset management, community development, and borrower advocacy, Jorge founded preREO with the goal of bringing stability to neighborhoods challenged by the blight of vacant homes. He is driven to empower local small business partners to revitalize and improve their communities while creating investment opportunities for themselves. Throughout his career, Jorge has utilized optimism and resiliency to find opportunity in adversity and he has a proven record of developing innovative solutions that can be mutually beneficial for lenders, borrowers, and communities alike. He founded American Homeowner Preservation, the country’s first crowdfunded distressed mortgage investment platform; AHP Servicing, a nationwide mortgage servicer; and Activist Legal, a law firm facilitating default legal services nationwide. He also authored Burn Zones, sharing lessons learned through his challenges and successes as an entrepreneur.

 

James Maffuccio

Co Founder and Chief Investment Officer Aspen Funds

Mr. Maffuccio is a 30-year real estate veteran and an expert in mortgage notes. He is deeply networked in the secondary mortgage industry and is responsible for acquisitions and underwriting as well as relationships with primary sources and key vendors. During his real estate career, Mr. Maffuccio developed, and/or rehabbed multiple residential projects in Southern California, including infill subdivisions, affordable homes, luxury homes and homesites, multifamily, and planned developments, such as the Gold Nugget Award-winning “Traditions” community in Fillmore. Mr. Maffuccio has personally executed and/or managed every aspect of the development process, including site selection

and acquisition, project conceptualization and design, procurement of entitlements and permits, regulatory compliance, entity structuring and capitalization, construction management, marketing, sales, and investor relations.

 

Kathleen Kramer

Real Estate Broker 1 Oak Advisory, LLC

In her 25+ years as a licensed Real Estate Broker and Mortgage Originator, Kathleen Kramer has closed over 2500 transactions for more than a $1 billion in volume. She ran a successful Real Estate club in Huntington Beach from 2002 to 2006. She and her husband, Michael, have personally invested in a variety of real estate backed investments including single family, multi-family, office, land development, reg D syndications and non-performing notes in several states. Investing in real estate gave Kathleen the financial liberty to take a sabbatical from her Real Estate and Mortgage Brokerage business for the last two years. She spent the time rehabbing her house in Huntington Beach, travelling, homeschooling her daughter, caring for the older generation and planning what is ‘next’.

 

Ben Lapidus

Chief Financial Officer for Spartan Investment Group LLC

Ben Lapidus has has applied his finance and business development skills to construct from scratch a portfolio of over $100M assets under management, build the corporate finance backbone for the organization, and organize over $20M of debt capital from the firm. In addition to completing over 50 real estate transactions at and prior to Spartan, Ben is also the founder and host of the national Best Ever Real Estate Investing Conference and managing partner of Indigo Ownerships LLC.

 

All previous webinars will be featured on demand during Best Ever Conference on February 18-20th. Use WINNERS30 to get 30% off your ticket here.

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JF2326: Highlights From 401(k)aos by Andy Tanner | Actively Passive Investing Show With Theo Hicks & Travis Watts

Investing in 401(k)aos: Highlights from Andy Tanner’s Book

The 401(k) retirement plan has taken its place alongside Mom and apple pie as a pillar of American wholesomeness. Most private-sector employees invest in a 401(k) where offered, and the public sector has its equivalent accounts. As workers, we learn that contributing to an employer-sponsored retirement account is the best way to fund retirement. Andy Tanner, in his book “401(k)aos”, questions this one-size-fits-all assumption. On this Actively Passive Investing Show podcast, we discuss Andy’s five main points and add our observations on the 401(k)’s potentially chaotic role in lives and markets.

1. 401(k) to the Rescue

To understand why the 401(k) is an agent of chaos, we need to look at its history. Invented in 1978 to help workers fund retirement, the 401(k) plan was meant to supplement other options such as IRAs, pensions, brokerage accounts, and personal savings. Ideally, the average American worker would draw from a diverse financial portfolio in later years. A financial strategy could include commercial investing and active investing in providing retirement income streams.

Fast forward to today, and many people rely on their 401(k) as their primary retirement strategy. They expect this account, along with social security and homeownership, to support them throughout retirement. In reality, most people won’t have nearly enough saved to cover their expenses. According to Andy, relying on the 401(k) has created a tragic and chaotic situation. He echoes the original architect Ted Benna in asserting that it was never intended as a primary retirement account.

Another aspect to consider is whether your financial goals are congruent with the 401(k)’s purpose. These plans build net worth, not provide cash flow. If you are involved in passive investing or commercial properties, you care about cash flow. Placing significant assets in a 401(k) may not be your best option, as withdrawing cash before retirement age could incur steep taxes.

2. The Peril of Mutual Funds

If you are an active investor, consider the lack of agency you have with a 401(k). These plans rely on mutual funds as investment vehicles. Further, they offer limited choices and stratify them according to risk. The conventional advice is that younger workers can tolerate more risk and should invest in riskier but potentially higher-yield funds. Older workers should invest more conservatively. Plans usually guide employees through a friendly online algorithm designed to help them allocate their contributions according to risk tolerance.

The issue here is with applying the same general investing strategy to all people. This approach also assumes that age primarily determines risk tolerance, irrespective of individual goals and circumstances. If you are an active investor, you know this view is shortsighted.

Andy flags historical mutual fund performance as a risk. Mutual funds generally track the stock market. If the S&P and Dow Jones indexes are down, your account probably is too. Reallocating a 401(k) is cumbersome and tied to specific time windows. You cannot react agilely to a volatile market, and you can’t plan to hedge losses.

The fundamental issue is that mutual funds are part of the Wall Street system and tied to its fortunes. Real estate and other assets can hedge against Wall Street, especially if they focus on people’s basic needs for goods, services, and housing. Retail shopping centers often survive market downturns. Other commercial properties, such as well-managed apartment complexes, usually thrive.

When you manage your own brokerage account, you can set a stop loss against sudden stock price drops. You can create other alerts that help you succeed with active investing. If your 401(k) nosedives, you wait for better days.

Retirement Fund Waiting Game

You may wonder if you need that flexibility in a long-term savings plan. After all, isn’t the 401(k) meant to be the ultimate vehicle for long-term passive investing? Don’t you want to let compounding and historical market trends work their magic? After all, many Americans lack the resources or knowledge to pursue commercial investing.

Let’s think back to the Great Recession. In many cases, the value of conventional retirement plans dropped by 50% or more. People lost half their retirement savings overnight. While the losses were unrealized, they quickly became real to the many people who needed to draw on the money within ten years. Employees approaching retirement did not have time to make up for the losses. Younger workers waited five years or more for their accounts to regain pre-recession value. If you were planning on borrowing against your 401(k) for an imminent home purchase, medical bills, or your children’s college expenses, you were out of luck.

If we look at the math behind the drops, the portfolio performance needed to recover is greater than the loss. If your account plummets by 50%, for example, you have to gain 100% to return to the initial value. In other words, you have to double your money to break even. This is an odd calculus for an investor, particularly when applied to mutual funds.

3. Feeding Wall Street

According to Andy, you should realize that the 401(k) was invented to enrich Wall Street. Though it may offer some advantages to individuals, its purpose is to promote mass participation in the stock market. Wall Street reaps fees and other profits from this vast investor base.

This doesn’t mean a 401(k) has no place in your financial strategy. Just keep in mind that the vehicle was not designed to benefit the individual. The tax situation illustrates this fact. If you want to withdraw from your account before retirement age, you face a stiff tax rate and penalties. To avoid this, you need to take a hands-off approach to that money or leverage the few exceptions, which still tax you at ordinary income rates.

Let’s take a mutual fund purchase as an example. If you buy a fund on your own through a broker, you can hold it for over a year and then sell at a long-term capital gains tax rate. This rate is 15% for most people. If you buy the same fund through your 401(k), hold for more than one year, and then cash out at retirement age, you may pay up to 37% in taxes on ordinary earned income.

Andy asks the question we should all ask ourselves: Do you plan on making more or less money in retirement than you do now? People’s answers vary depending on their goals. If you plan on making more, however, you are likely an investor. Does it make sense to take a 401(k) tax advantage now and pay much more tax later on that money in a higher income bracket? You may want to calculate scenarios in light of your investment strategy.

4. Abdicating Investing Responsibility

Andy points out an insidious side effect of mass reliance on the 401(k). If you trust your sponsored retirement vehicles to secure your future, you may forfeit owning your financial destiny. It becomes too easy to remain ignorant of basic investment and economic principles. Many people don’t learn financial literacy at home or in school. Without an incentive to learn fundamentals, they may pay excessive taxes because they don’t understand the system. Over decades of hard work, they may overlook opportunities and even risk life savings because they abdicated responsibility.

Structurally, the 401(k) reinforces dependence by offering limited investment choices. You typically have a small portfolio of mutual funds at various risk ratings, sometimes only one fund at each risk level. Your company may also offer a stock fund, but consider that you already invest in the firm by working there.

If you invest privately, you can choose from thousands of individual stocks, mutual funds, and other vehicles. You can complement real estate investments such as retail shopping centers or other commercial properties. Crucially, you can enter and exit investments as you need to.

5. Artificial Market Demand

Not only does the 401(k) affect individual financial habits, Andy describes its impact on the market. The millions of Americans regularly contributing to these plans create artificial demand for mutual funds, stocks, and the behemoth infrastructure that supports them. It is hard to cast the situation as a traditional bubble because retirement vehicles are funded so predictably and on a mass scale. We don’t yet know the consequences of this systemized influx.

The Takeaway

When viewed as an asset among several in your portfolio, the 401(k) offers some advantages. Often you can take out a loan against your vested balance. If your employer matches your contribution up to a certain percentage, you’re receiving free money. Before contributing above the match amount, consider weighing your particular situation’s pros and cons.

Andy’s key takeaway is that investing is a life skill we all need to own. You don’t need a degree in finance or a Wall Street job, but you want to understand tax code and market fundamentals. Know some history for context and be able to soundly evaluate your investment vehicle options. The better you can do this, the better you can invest in your financial future, not just Wall Street.

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Assumable Commercial Real Estate Loan – Potential Pros and Cons

When considering your debt options for a commercial real estate deal, you have two main options:

  1. Secure new debt
  2. Assume the existing debt

If the owner pre-negotiated an assumption right into their loan documents, once they go to sell the property, potential buyers have the option to assume the existing the loan. That is, the existing loan is transferred from the current borrower to the new borrower at the same terms.

When you are analyzing an on-market deal, there is typically a section in the offering memorandum that states whether the loan is assumable. When you are analyzing an off-market deal, you will need to ask the owner if the current debt is assumable.

There aren’t absolute pros and cons of an assumable loan because the benefits and drawbacks vary based on the buyer’s financials and experience, the terms of the existing loan, the type of existing loan, and the market conditions. So, instead. Let’s focus on the potential pros and cons of assuming a loan.

Potential Pros of an Assumable Commercial Real Estate Loan

Time Savings: Loan assumptions can be approved in as little as 30 days (maybe even sooner) whereas a new loan may take a few months to complete due to the extra documentation required.

Money Savings: Because the loan assumption process may be shorter and requires less documentation, the costs incurred via lender fees are typically lower than the costs incurred from securing a new loan.

Better Terms: The buyer has the opportunity to receive better loan terms – a lower interest rate, fixed interest rate, longer term, etc. – than they would of if they secured a new loan.

Lower Down Payment: When a buyer assumes a loan, the down payment is equal to the difference between the amount owed by the debt and the sales price (i.e., the equity). If the owner doesn’t have a lot of equity in the deal, the down payment may be lower than the down payment on a new loan.

More Attractive Deal: Because of the aforementioned pros of the assumable loan, a seller may attract more buyers as well as sell the property faster.

Potential Cons of an Assumable Commercial Real Estate Loan

Longer Approval Process: if the current loan is overly complicated, the loan approval process can take longer than the process of securing a new loan.

One Lender: The buyer who is assuming the loan is forced to work with the lender that holds the existing debt.

Higher Down Payment: If the owner has a lot of equity in the deal, the down payment may be higher than the down payment of a new loan.

Worse Terms: if the terms of the existing loan aren’t as favorable as the current market terms, the debt terms could be worse than the terms of a new loan.

Won’t Qualify for the Assumption: Lenders have broad discretion when qualifying a buyer for an assumable loan. For example, they will want the buyer’s financials and experience to be similar to those of the current owner. So, the buyer may not qualify for the assumption.

Because of these potential cons, it is important to have financing contingencies in place in your contract and have a few lenders on back-up in case you don’t qualify for the assumption.

 

 

 

 

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Tips for setting goals as passive investors

Passive investing is a strategy that’s designed for the clear purpose of maximizing the returns that you obtain by effectively minimizing any buying and selling. In many situations, passive investments are considered to be long-term investments that you hold for a lengthy period of time before selling. For instance, it’s possible for a passive investor to make investments in art pieces.

No matter the strategy you use for making passive investments, it’s important to set goals that will guide your decision-making in the months and years to come. However, setting goals with this form of investing can be tricky when the returns are difficult to calculate. This guide offers some tips on how you can properly set goals when utilizing passive investments.

What Is Passive Investing?

This is a portfolio strategy that centers around buying and holding investments until they have appreciated in value. Because of its flexibility, there are many types of investments that can be made with this strategy. It’s common for investments to be held onto for a very long time. Keep in mind that this type of strategy hardly uses any market trading.

Likely the most common type of this investment is index investing, which centers around replicating and holding a market index or indices. The primary benefits of using this investment strategy is that it’s considerably less expensive and less complicated when compared to an active investment strategy. Additional benefits associated with passive investments include:

  • Very low fees because of much less oversight
  • Your capital gains tax should be low each year
  • It’s far easier to create an effective strategy with these investments when compared to active investments
  • Can help you diversify your portfolio

How to Properly Set Goals As a Passive Investor

When you want to make passive investments, it’s important that you understand how to properly set goals for your portfolio. If your expectations are unrealistic, you could be disappointed in the returns on your investments. While the returns that come with passive investments aren’t exceedingly high, they can help you bring in passive income and increase your wealth. Before you start implementing a passive investment strategy, take a look at the following tips that can help you along the way.

Make Sure That You Set Modest Investment Return Goals

When you engage in passive investing, your main goal should be to obtain modest investment returns. In fact, you should rarely expect to get high returns that beat the market. While this form of investment comes with much less risk than the majority of active investments, it’s important to understand that the returns are generally random. Even though the returns for passive property investments are somewhat predictable, not all passive opportunities can be calculated beforehand. If you set modest investment return goals, you’re portfolio should be able to withstand a slightly worse return than you expected.

Use the Right Strategy

There are many different types of passive income investments that you can make, the primary of which include real estate, dividend stocks, index funds, and peer-to-peer lending. The strategy that you choose depends largely on your preference and your knowledge of the investment in question. Real estate investments are very popular because of the ongoing rise in property values that has occurred in most locations over the past 10 years. If you want to obtain long-term returns that you can count on, this shouldn’t be a bad investment.

If you invest your money into real estate for the purpose of bringing in passive income, you can gain ongoing income source from rental properties. You could also invest in REITs, which are designed to pay out around 90 percent of taxable income to investors as dividends. Crowdfunding is another great option that gives you the full tax benefits of being a property owner.

If you’re not interested in making investments in properties, you could look into dividend stocks, which are an easy way to generate income. When public companies earn profits, these profits are sent to investors as dividends. You could then choose to purchase additional shares with dividends or cash out. Keep in mind that the yields that can be obtained with dividend stocks vary with each company. Consider searching for companies that are classified as dividend aristocrats, which indicates that significant dividends have been paid out for at least 25 years.

As touched upon previously, among the more popular types of passive investments are index funds, which are mutual funds that are linked to a market index. Index funds are passively managed and won’t change significantly unless the underlying structure of the index changes. Management costs are very low with index funds. The fourth type of passive investment strategy that you should consider is peer-to-peer lending, which is also known as crowdfunding. Currently, crowdfunding is highly popular and is used for everything from buying properties to funding different types of loans.

Crowdfunding involves numerous investors lending money to a business entity or person via an online platform that connects the borrowers and lenders. These platforms include Lending Club and Prosper. Aside from funding the actual loan, you aren’t required to do much in regards to managing the fund. You can expect a return that ranges from 6-12 percent when making crowdfunding investments, which can help you with your wealth building efforts.

Each of the four aforementioned strategies has its own positives and negatives that you will need to take into account. With the right approach, all four options can provide you with sizable returns that you can use to increase your wealth or to open up additional investment opportunities. The goals that you make can be dictated by the strategy you choose.

Identify How Much Money You Should Save

Whether you want to make passive investments to bolster your wealth building efforts or to increase the amount of money that you have for retirement, it’s important that you set a goal for the total amount of money that you want to earn and save from your investments. When saving for retirement, it’s recommended that you set aside enough money to cover 70-85 percent of the income that you bring in before retirement.

If you want to travel the world upon retirement or invest in a new hobby, your savings may need to be even higher. Other investment firms recommend that you save around 10 times the amount of income you generate in a single year by the time that you turn 67. If you earn $100,000 per year, this means that you should have around $1 million in savings by the time that you’re 67. Once you know how much you want to save, you will have a better idea of what your goals should be.

Know How to Overcome Investment Hurdles

There will always be hurdles and challenges that you will be required to overcome when making passive investments. If you want to reach the goals that you set for your investments, it’s important that you know how to overcome any challenges that you face. Even though passive investments are less risky than active ones, it’s still possible to lose money on your investments. Keep in mind that this type of investment is meant to be a long-term strategy, which means that you will want to sell your investments when they have reached an acceptable value that will allow you to generate a sizable return.

Along the way, you may notice that the investment dips in value at one time or another. Some investors will panic in these situations and choose to sell, which is typically a bad idea. Passive investments aren’t meant to fluctuate substantially in value, which is why you should be patient while awaiting favorable returns. The key to a successful investment is to react to volatility in the markets with a calm and measured approach.

Set a Clear Timeline With Each Investment

It’s highly recommended that you set a clear timeline with the goals that you have for each investment. If you want to net a return of 10 percent after 10 years of holding an investment, you should stick close to the timeline that you’ve set. By creating a clear timeline, it should be easier for you to avoid selling too early or to hold on too long while you await higher returns. Keep in mind that the right passive investments can be held until well after retirement age. If you set these timelines as early in your life as possible, it’s more likely that you will earn enough income to reach your goals.

If you want to be a successful investor, making passive investments is a great way to diversify your portfolio. Most of these investments are simple and easy to manage, which helps to reduce overall risk. Though goals aren’t always easy to define with passive investments, setting some basic ones should help you avoid making costly mistakes when you invest your money. With patience, the income that you generate could be higher than anticipated.

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Raising Real Estate Capital with Crowdfunding

When raising capital, real estate investors often graduate from personal contacts to complex partnerships or institutions. Another option to consider is crowdfunding. On this Best Ever Show podcast, real estate investor and CEO Chris Rawley explains the power of crowdfunding as a capital source and how to tell if it’s the right option for you.

About Chris Rawley

Chris Rawley has been a professional real estate investor for over 20 years. His portfolio includes single-family, multifamily, and commercial properties. He currently focuses on income-producing agriculture as an opportunity for passive investing. His platform, Harvest Returns, matches quality agriculture deals with investors to raise much-needed capital for U.S. farmers.

Why Crowdfunding?

If you’re doing real estate investing, the conventional funding path usually goes like this. You first use your own money and then approach friends, family, and business contacts for passive investing. When those sources run dry, you may turn to institutional funding or spend considerable time developing partnerships from scratch. Institutions have a high lending threshold and are suited for larger commercial properties such as retail shopping centers. They also come with significant oversight and conditions.

Many individuals engaged in commercial investing have quality deals that don’t meet institutional criteria. Crowdfunding provides a robust, flexible funding alternative. As the deal sponsor, you have access to suitable investors. You also gain legal and regulatory resources that would cost you considerable time and money to build on your own.

Advantages of Crowdfunding

Assembling a syndication deal involves adhering to complex financial regulations and drafting the requisite documents. If you do it yourself, you spend significant time and money on accounting, tax, and legal services. You need to understand the role of the various oversight agencies such as the SEC and hire the right experts. The beauty of crowdfunding is that the platforms handle much of this groundwork for you.

Each platform differs in the type and amount of guidance it provides. For example, Harvest Returns offers its sponsors the benefit of the legwork Chris initially did for his real estate ventures. His business spent considerable money to have securities attorneys put all legal and regulatory requirements in place. As a result, his platform’s listing sponsors benefit directly from this expertise and documentation. They still need to learn the legal environment, but they do not start from scratch and slow the deal.

Another major advantage of crowdfunding is the built-in pool of investors. You don’t have to find and vet your backers. You also have access to a more extensive and diverse group that you would likely discover independently. When the platform accepts your listing, you are guaranteed eyes on your project. You are not guaranteed quick results, but your deal will have the attention of the right audience. This alone is gold for commercial investing.

Crowdfunding may be right for you if:

  • You have exhausted non-institutional resources.
  • You have a successful track record.
  • You have a niche asset class, such as income-producing agriculture.
  • You have a partially funded deal that could benefit from additional investors.

Choose the Right Platform

Crowdfunding investment platforms took off around 2015 and today offer diverse opportunities for various real estate asset classes. You can find platforms tailored to single-family flips, wholesaling, and commercial projects such as retail shopping centers. You can also find options for specialized assets such as specific financial instruments or agriculture.

Chris advises beginning by defining the type of investor you are. Do you fix and flip houses? Do you wholesale apartment buildings? Are you targeting niche real estate markets such as sustainable development? You want to identify the crowdfunding platforms catering to your project niche and research each one to find the best fit.

Most platforms expect sponsors to list exclusively with them rather than attempt to raise funding on several sites. This requirement eases regulatory compliance, and you will likely sign an agreement with the platform you finally choose. A way to feel more comfortable about exclusivity is to speak with other sponsors who have succeeded on that platform. Most sites are happy to provide references. Chris suggests you be wary of any platform that won’t do so.

Your next step is to determine if you qualify for the platforms you’re interested in. They have listing criteria that syndication sponsors must meet. They also differ in the resources they offer, such as regulatory forms. Your best bet is to reach out to them and learn their guidelines and support for sponsors. Most have sales and marketing teams to provide information and perhaps speak with you about your particular situation. Established platforms have more stringent listing criteria, while smaller or newer players often have more flexible requirements.

For their part, investors are looking to mitigate risk. They examine each deal in light of questions such as:

  • Is this project viable?
  • What return can I expect?
  • Can this sponsor deliver results?
  • Can I safeguard capital gains or income?
  • What are the tax implications?

Chris stresses that many investors want to make personal connections and to believe that their capital helps the greater good. If you can demonstrate how your project will benefit the local community or causes such as sustainable farming, your support will grow.

As with any deal, investors look for strong fundamentals. Platforms differ in their due diligence procedures, but you always want to prepare a solid business case and be ready to speak to it.

Build Your Team and Track Record

Investors want to see that a sponsor has a successful track record. As Chris puts it, they don’t want to invest in a newbie’s mistakes. You are best off trying crowdfunding after you have done at least a few successful deals.

For investors, a sponsor’s experience is often the differentiator between two similar offerings. Even a short track record builds credibility. Before attempting crowdfunding, do one or two syndications on your own, either with personal contacts or an established partner.

A credible sponsor has a strong team as well as a track record as an active investor. Investors want to see that you have accounting and legal experts as well as any other business advisers appropriate for your asset class. This shows that you have some experience, are serious, and run your active investing as a business.

Present a Winning Deal

Many platforms conduct a thorough background check on potential sponsors before moving forward with them. They examine the deal’s structure and numbers to determine if it is a viable investment.

Each platform has requirements for putting your listing in front of investors. Your listing needs to differentiate itself from other concurrent offerings. At a minimum, it should include essential details about your project, such as location and asset type. Also, your platform may ask you to provide supplementary information for investors such as a business plan or pitch deck.

Once the raise is underway for your project, potential investors want a thorough understanding of the deal and expected return. Some platforms handle all of the interfacing for you and cater more to passive investing. Others treat the process more as active investing. You might host a webinar or answer questions in a formal round table for the active investor who wants a voice in your project.

Chris has found that people respond well to webinars, as they can interact with the sponsor and ask live questions. They can also meet the members of the sponsor’s team, such as the attorney or CPA. In Chris’s words, the process lends tangibility to the deal and builds trust.

Crowdfunding for Agriculture Investing

The food supply and related issues are hot topics today, and many investors are curious about agriculture opportunities. Crowdfunding is a good option because the platforms present you with curated projects appropriate for your goals. Chris’s platform structures agriculture deals similarly to the real estate deals he’s done for years. They have debt offerings from 7% to 12% and equity deals in the teens. They also offer opportunities in AgTech, which is the application of computer technology to farming. These offerings are higher risk but offer potentially greater returns as much as 40%.

Unlike most real estate, agricultural properties are unique. Each farm is distinctive and should be evaluated on its own merits. Indoor projects have gained momentum and include vertical and hydroponic farms. These options allow more locally grown produce and some refuge from climate and transportation infrastructure impacts. Successful investments enjoy a high rate of return.

Chris keeps the minimum investment in his projects as low as $5,000. This threshold allows more investors to participate and to diversify their portfolios. As for farmers interested in funding sources other than banks, Chris urges them to reach out to his team.

Crowdfunding for syndication is a relatively new and evolving space with numerous platforms catering to all asset classes. If you’re ready to move beyond personal capital, take a look at what it has to offer. Not only might you fund your next deal, but you might also find lucrative investment opportunities you never knew existed.

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5 Ways to Win the Apartment Bidding War

Whether you are new to apartment syndication investing or an active investor expanding your portfolio, you will compete for deals. Other bidders may have more experience or higher offers. How do you win the seller and the contract? Let’s look at five ways to make your offer stand out.

Keep in mind that even in competitive markets, sellers don’t always take the highest bid. Sellers differ in their motivations, and the five tips below will help you craft the best possible offer for the deal you are pursuing.

1. Offer Hard Earnest Money

Hard earnest money is a non-refundable deposit. It is a good-faith move that shows the seller you are serious enough to leave money on the table should something go wrong. It also signals that you can afford to buy the property.

In a typical deal, the earnest money is refundable. You provide a deposit as soon as possible after signing the contract, preferably within three days. The amount is often about 1% of the total price. If you purchase commercial properties for $500,000, you pay the seller $5,000. If you or the seller cancel the contract, you receive your money back.

A bolder move is to make the earnest money non-refundable. Even if the contract is canceled or falls through, the seller keeps the deposit. Sellers are rightfully concerned about buyers tying up the property in contract and then backing out or losing funding. The buyer may find a better opportunity or walk for financial reasons. Meanwhile, the seller has effectively taken the property off the market. Backup buyers may lose interest, and the market could shift by the time the seller relists.

You can view a non-refundable deposit as compensation for the risk the seller assumes by entering a contract with you. First, you want to decide when the money goes hard. The most straightforward option is to make the deposit non-refundable from day one. Sellers find this attractive as they can keep the money no matter what.

However, it may be in your best interest to tie non-refundable earnest money to a contingency clause or other stipulation. You could require that the funds harden at the end of the due diligence period. Alternatively, you could make a portion of the deposit immediately non-refundable and include the remainder after meeting a condition.

Include Contingencies

Even if you harden your earnest money from day one, you still want to include contingencies for events beyond your control. This approach protects you against deal-breaker concerns such as severely failed property inspections or title issues. It still covers the seller in case you back out due to funding or other reasons within your control. If a seller demands a no-contingency hard deposit, consider this a red flag.

2. Shorten the Due Diligence Window

Another way to woo the seller is to shorten the time to closing. If an active investor, you can often shrink the time needed to close from a boilerplate period to a realistic estimate. Advantages to the seller include faster closing and the assurance that you are serious about owning the property. Sellers often have stakeholders in passive investing and are motivated to provide a smooth transaction. Buyers keeping their options open do not press for fast closing. In turn, assuming you have your financing in place, you obtain your investment faster.

The most effective way to shorten closing is to compress the due diligence window, which is when buyers discover most issues. Be aware that the due diligence period protects your right to cancel the contract and reclaim your deposit should you find problems. The average window is 30 days. If you invest in retail shopping centers or other commercial properties, you may need that time or more.

After the due diligence window closes, you can’t cancel the contract or get your earnest money back. This applies even if you find a related problem. To protect yourself, be realistic about the scope of work. Determine the time you will need to conduct all activities, such as inspections and title verification. Build in some cushion for repeat inspections, inclement weather, or other factors that could slow progress. Then see if you can save a week or more without jeopardizing your interests.

3. Sign an Access Agreement

Typically, your property access for due diligence begins after you and the seller sign the purchase sale agreement. An access agreement gives you limited rights to begin property inspections early. Sellers like this option because it shows you are serious and potentially willing to shorten the closing time.

In an early access scenario, you sign an access agreement once the seller accepts your letter of intent and agrees to move forward with your offer. A contract negotiating period follows, which can be brief or extended depending on the deal. An access agreement lets you begin due diligence early by allowing limited property access for inspections.

If all goes well, you can complete at least some of your due diligence before signing the purchase sales agreement. You can even tie the formal due diligence period to the access agreement by starting the clock then. For example, your due diligence window could expire ten days after contract signing. However, you want to be confident of the property and the deal before you shorten your protection under contract.

4. Use the Seller’s Purchase Agreement

Once the seller has accepted your letter of intent, you begin contract negotiations. When active investing, you often provide your version of the purchase sales agreement prepared by your attorney. The seller compares yours with their contract version, and your teams hash out the details until reaching an agreement. The agreement becomes the final contract that all parties sign.

This negotiation process may be fast and smooth on a smaller residential property or with a seller you have previously worked with. If your focus is larger commercial investing, such as in retail shopping centers, finalizing a contract will likely be more complex and lengthy. Backers who are passive investing may not realize that contracts sometimes collapse due to non-financial discrepancies. During negotiations, you risk the deal falling through due to disagreements over legal language or similar matters.

You can mitigate risk by using the seller’s purchase sales agreement instead of drafting your own. Take their documents and have your attorney mark them up with proposed changes. Submit the revised contract to the seller for review. This way, the seller quickly sees which changes you present instead of comparing your version with theirs. The process makes it easier to negotiate specific terms under contention and validate those that are not. You and the seller can reach a final contract more quickly and with less chance of a legal stalemate.

5. Guarantee a Closing Date

A strategy often used in residential purchases is to guarantee closing by a specific date. Sellers frequently have personal contingencies that make a hard close date very alluring. Commercial investing is more impersonal, but timing the close still offers advantages in certain situations.

One scenario is to help the seller secure a tax advantage. If the deal is near year-end, the seller may prefer to close either in the current year or in January. Active investing requires considering the capital needs of any other investors as well as complex financial requirements for short and long horizons. Further, some sellers may have a fiscal cycle that differs from the calendar year. As a motivated buyer seeking a win-win, try to learn the seller’s timing preferences.

Sometimes non-financial events trigger a desire to close before or after a specific date. Major elections, local laws taking effect, and other situations may spur a seller to choose the buyer who can guarantee a closing window. Most often, the seller seeks an early close, but sometimes not. Be clear on which timing scenarios you are willing to accommodate before engaging with the seller on this point. If they ask for a 90-day close when you were expecting 60 days, will it work for you?

Target the Deal

In addition to a favorable price, which strategy should you include in your offer? The answer depends on the deal. Though the market for apartment investing is competitive, your job is to focus on this particular deal. It’s the one you want.

To help you plan your offer, try to learn:

  • About other offers on the table. If they all include non-refundable earnest money, you want to offer more.
  • The seller’s motivations. This will help you understand whether a committed buyer, quick close, highest price, or other terms matter most.
  • Other factors important to the seller. Are there tax considerations driving a desired close date? Did a previous buyer walk, leaving a skittish seller who would appreciate a non-refundable deposit and access agreement?

Keep in mind that you can combine strategies to craft a top offer. An access agreement facilitates a shortened due diligence period, for example. If other buyers are going with hard earnest money, perhaps you can meet an earlier date or raise the amount. With perseverance and flexibility, you can be the dream buyer sellers want.

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Find the True Value of Real Estate Markets

“Is the real estate market currently overvalued?” Many active investors and entrepreneurs are asking this question, and you probably are as well. The housing sector is strong despite the fact that the U.S. is officially in a recession. Home prices and rental rates are jumping in many metro markets. During unpredictable times, wise investors take cues from historical patterns. Market analytics expert Stefan Tsvetkov talks with Joe Fairless on The Best Ever Show about the power of quantitative analysis to help you find undervalued opportunities. As with other markets, your best bet is often to focus on value rather than attempting to time cycles.

About Stefan Tsvetkov

Stefan owns the data analytics firm Envvy Analytics, which specializes in business and market analysis. Its mission is to help real estate investors find exceptional opportunities and leverage market inefficiencies. Stefan brings ten years of experience in financial engineering, a field that develops and applies quantitative techniques to tackle financial problems. Stefan is passionate about using data analytics to help investors make better decisions.

Stefan has three years of personal experience as an active investor. He has privately purchased multifamily properties and knows firsthand the impact of current market trends on individual owners and businesspeople. His portfolio includes a New Jersey triplex and fourplex and a New York duplex.

Stefan found early inspiration for an analytical approach to real estate in the work of hedge fund manager John Hussman. Hussman developed a predictive metric for stock market drops by determining whether the stock market was overvalued. Stefan contrasts this valuation measure with the typical Wall Street emphasis on price-to-earnings ratio. He determined that Hussman’s metric outperformed the price-to-earnings ratio, which further motivated him to deep dive into market valuation analysis.

Look Beyond Demographics

When considering a potential real estate market, you probably look at job and population trends. You’re in good company, as commercial investing advisers stress demographics when evaluating opportunities. However, Stefan advises people to focus on market valuation. Why? For one thing, he notes, real estate markets are inefficient. It’s challenging to get a qualitative read on values for a given market.

Another compelling reason is that historical market cycles are best analyzed quantitatively. Data analytics finds patterns that qualitative analysis might overlook, allowing financial engineers such as Stefan to develop predictive models. Critically, data analysis can validate models for robustness. When you use a metric such as the one Stefan recommends below, you know its performance history. You are not guessing.

A Gold Standard Metric

Stefan’s research has yielded one metric he considers the gold standard for valuing markets. The ballpark measurement to start with is the historical ratio of housing prices to income in a given market. You then determine the current ratio and calculate its deviation from the historical norm. Typically, the metrics refer to household income and the price of single-family homes rather than commercial properties.

As an example, let’s assume that the historical housing price-to-income ratio in Texas has averaged 5. If today it is 8, you should consider whether that market is overvalued. If it is 4, perhaps the market is now undervalued. You would then consider other potential factors such as housing shortages, employer flight, or other socioeconomic influences.

Does Stefan’s metric hold true for larger investors? Whether your interest in commercial properties is via active investing or passive investing, the good news is his measure still applies. Stefan explains that the price-income formula is about 95% accurate for multifamily units. Over time, differences in appraising and returns even out. Household income still drives valuation, however, and so the metric best suits commercial investing in one-to-four-unit properties.

Lessons from the Great Recession

Stefan’s interest in quantitative real estate valuation was partly inspired by a seeming prophet of the big crash, Ingo Winzer. As early as 2005, Winzer declared on CNN that specific markets were significantly overvalued. A year later, he reiterated his belief that certain metro areas were dangerously overpriced.

By 2007, the most overvalued U.S. real estate markets were Arizona, California, Florida, and Nevada. These states ranged from being 49% to 68% overvalued. Stefan estimates that the subsequent market falls correlated 83% with these markets’ deviations from their historical price-to-income ratios. Their prices plummeted 45% to 56% after being overvalued and held steady when their values aligned with historical norms.

According to Stefan, the median market deviation from historical ratios preceding the crash was 26%. A 22% price plunge followed this peak in value. In contrast, real estate markets with variations under 10% could be considered fairly valued. Price drops in these areas averaged only 11%. A clear correlation seems drawn between the percent deviation of a given market from its historical price-to-income ratio and its percent drop in a recession.

Overlooked and Undervalued

The Great Recession has lessons for investors seeking quality undervalued markets. Stefan emphasizes that it’s easy to forget that some state markets were undervalued during this time. About 12 states, including Texas, experienced price drops in line with their undervaluation. Texas was undervalued by 5% in 2007 and dropped only 4%, in contrast to the historic losses experienced in many other regions.

In parallel, national income declined 4%. This loss of household spending power hit over-leveraged homeowners particularly hard. However, the story isn’t as bleak for undervalued states. When considered with single-family home prices, income and homeownership costs kept pace in many regions.

Stefan believes these historical patterns still apply, and today’s markets offer opportunity. Regardless of whether the overall market peaks next year or in five, undervalued markets should resist the steep losses of a correction.

Scaling Market Peaks

How do you identify a market peak, especially in today’s volatile landscape? Stefan insists that you can’t. He explains that a market peak is when prices top out and then drop significantly. Prices can plunge quickly or bottom out over two to five years. We identify market peaks in hindsight. We can’t predict them, and even an active investor shouldn’t hinge a strategy on timing.

Quantitative market valuation offers tools to navigate cycles in the absence of timing peaks. In consideration of complex housing markets in certain metro regions, Stefan is refining the price-to-income metric. He cites San Francisco as an example of a complex housing market. San Francisco housing is expensive due to supply and demand and thus should not be assumed to be overvalued. Prices there are driven by a housing shortage.

People often discuss historical market peaks as singular events. In reality, market cycles vary regionally. During the Great Recession, some areas peaked in 2005 while others topped out in late 2007.

Does this uncertainty mean that you should stay out of hot markets? Not necessarily. Large, strong markets in areas such as Texas tend to hold their value across cycles. Stefan believes that large states with robust economic activity offer the best opportunities. What you need to watch for is significant overvaluation that could signal a powerful forthcoming correction.

How to Find Undervalued Opportunities

According to historical performance numbers, undervalued markets are less likely to drop substantially in a downturn following a peak. If you want to invest cautiously, focus on identifying undervalued markets. You can work with a financial expert like Stefan or do your research based on Stefan’s guidelines.

Your investor profile matters when deciding on potential markets. If active investing, you have more control over responding agilely to changes in markets or investing goals. If passive investing, you generally have little say in the timing of market exits. You want an undervalued but strong market that lets you sleep soundly at night.

Your investing scope matters as well. Buying a triplex in a residential neighborhood differs from investing in retail shopping centers.

Along those lines, Stefan notes that we should distinguish between metro and state scope. Though an undervalued state such as Texas may hold reasonably steady, specific communities may fluctuate more widely. Factors such as employment and migration affect individual cities and counties.

The key is to find strong markets that are undervalued and weigh their strengths against weaknesses. Many U.S. states are undervalued by Stefan’s criteria, but not all of them offer equal opportunity. Currently, Stefan names the most undervalued states as being Arkansas, Connecticut, and Illinois. However, Connecticut has issues that make it unattractive to investors.

In contrast, Indiana is 6% undervalued and up 27% from its 2007 peak. If you are an investor starting small, you would most likely consider Indiana over Connecticut. Larger investors looking at retail shopping centers or other commercial investing should consider big markets.

The Bottom Line

When overarching factors such as the current pandemic muddle qualitative analysis, a quantitative view brings objectivity and historical context. Rather than try to guess the market’s peak, focus on identifying undervalued yet strong markets. If you’re a larger investor, choose big metro regions. Accurate market valuation supports portfolio growth while buffering against plunges. It outlasts rollercoaster cycles, and so can you.

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