JF2456: From Pharmacist to Coach and Real Estate Investor with Ketan Patel

Ketan Patel is a high-performance coach, capital raiser, and real estate investor who started as pharmacist. Thinking about finding another source of income instead of relying on a corporate job, he decided to buy single-family units but realized how it was not the way to achieve his goals—the idea of syndication and capital raising daunted him. Ketan never runs from challenges; not having money to problematic tenants, he decided to take things at his hands and formulated a strategy that would propel him to success. In this episode, Ketan discussed the compelling journey of an immigrant to a syndication extraordinaire.

Ketan Patel | Real Estate Background:

  • A high-performance coach and capital raiser
  • 8 years of real estate investing experience
  • Has raised over $10M for syndications 
  • Based in Boston, MA
  • Say hi to him at: www.ketanpatel.com 

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Best Ever Tweet:

“If the deal did not work out or something bad happened, it’s not the end of the world. Everyone will learn and be better next time.” –Ketan Patel

TRANSCRIPTION

Ash Patel: Hello, Best Ever listeners. Welcome to the Best Real Estate Investing Advice Ever Show. I’m Ash Patel and I’m here with our guest today, Ketan Patel. No relation, Ketan. It’s a very common last name, right?

Ketan Patel: Absolutely.

Ash Patel: Ketan is joining us from Boston, Massachusetts. He is a high-performance coach and a capital raiser. Ketan has 8 years of real estate investing experience and has raised over 10 million dollars for syndications. Ketan, how are you today?

Ketan Patel: I’m doing great. Thank you for having me on the show.

Ash Patel: It’s our pleasure. Before we get started, can you tell us a little bit more about your background and what you’re focused on now?

Ketan Patel: Sure. Originally, I used to be a pharmacist, and I transitioned into real estate investing. Over the years, I realized that capital raising is a huge component, so I started focusing on that. I also realized the mindset, the strategy we use to get to our goals – that’s very important as well. So I started focusing on that piece as well.

Ash Patel: Alright, tell me more about that. Pharmacist, mindset, and somewhere in there there’s going to be real estate, right?

Ketan Patel: Yeah.

Ash Patel: Take me through your journey. Are you still a pharmacist?

Ketan Patel: No. Originally, I’m an immigrant from India; I came here, I wasn’t speaking English, I got my Doctor of Pharmacy, I started practicing, but I realized I needed another source of income. I just didn’t want to rely on this corporate job. I bought a couple of single-family homes, then I graduated into three-unit, five-unit deals… And then I realized the time and energy that goes into this, it’s not scalable if I want to get to my goals faster. Then the idea of syndication and the capital raising and all that came.

Ash Patel: Okay. We’ve got to dive into some of that. You were a pharmacist, and you started getting into real estate. What got you into real estate?

Ketan Patel: I realized that, with a full-time pharmacy job, real estate gives you a little bit of flexibility. There’s a lot of ways to enter the world of real estate. You don’t have to jump all the way in. I figured if I buy some properties and manage them, it’s not going to take a whole lot of time and I could still keep practicing pharmacy. That’s what appealed about it. And I love numbers, I understand numbers very well, so it just made sense to leverage the funds from the bank, the appreciation and cash flow, and the whole aspect.

Ash Patel: Alright, so you got a couple of single-family rentals. I’m assuming you got hooked on the passive income, so to speak…

Ketan Patel: The first time, necessarily not, because those were challenging rentals, where we had some problem with the tenants, and the properties weren’t cash flowing… But I know that there’s something here that I need to discover and I can’t just make an assessment on it yet.

Ash Patel: Alright, so I shouldn’t assume. So they didn’t go well, but you wanted to fix it rather than stray away from it.

Ketan Patel: Yes, absolutely.

Ash Patel: What did you do to correct the issues that you were having?

Ketan Patel: To correct the issue, the first property, the challenge was not even getting the mortgage, not having the money for the down payment. And then the tenant stopped paying rent. They were supposed to be screened by a company we hired to screen them, but they did no work at all. So I learned from them that I need to take little matters in my own hand. I also learned let’s do a couple more deals to get a feel of what the average results are, so to speak, and formulate a strategy.

Ash Patel: Great. Your other single-family rentals, did they go much better?

Ketan Patel: Yes, they went much smoother.

Ash Patel: Okay. What was your next step? You’ve got three or four single-family rentals and then what did you do from there?

Ketan Patel: From there, I realized the time and energy that goes into hunting these smaller deals… Let’s go into three-unit, five-unit deals; everything accelerates, everything gets compounded, so I stopped looking at single-family and exclusively focused on three-unit and five-unit deals.

Ash Patel: How did you find those?

Ketan Patel: I made some broker contacts in the market, and also sending some flyers to the area, also looking into on-market listings as well… Using a combination of things just to get some leads going on.

Ash Patel: And where did the cash come from for the down payments?

Ketan Patel: During this, while I was doing all that, I realized that passive income is going to take a long time. So I pivoted, left the pharmacy, bought a senior care business, and I grew that business. It was giving me good enough cash flow to help a little bit with the down payments. Then I was also refinancing a couple of deals and I started getting friends and family into the mix, so that was helping me with the down payments.

Ash Patel: Alright. What kind of senior care business was this?

Ketan Patel: This was basically a senior care business where the caregivers are going to the senior’s home, my client’s home… So not an actual facility, but it’s more mobile.

Ash Patel: Okay, so home care.

Ketan Patel: Yup.

Break: [00:05:48][00:07:49]

Ash Patel: You left a high-paying pharmacy job to start, or to take over a business and to improve it. What motivated you to do that? Was it purely income?

Ketan Patel: That’s a great question. When I left that job, I had no money to buy this business. I have student loans in six figures, and the business I’m buying, I don’t know much about it. So everything was stacked against me. But I knew that we are always going to get these moments. Either we look into what’s possible, what are my values, what do I want my life to be, or I surrender to the limitation. Maybe it’s not the right time, I don’t know if this is going to work, is this the right move…? etc. I knew my goal was to replace my income with an entrepreneurial pursuit and work very less hours, so I could use the remainder of my time to do whatever I please to do.

Ash Patel: Okay, but growing a home care business, you’re not going to work less hours. I’m assuming you spent a lot of time focused on growing that business.

Ketan Patel: Yes. I spent it for the first two years, but then I put the business on autopilot where I have to work less than one day a week. The managers are managing the business, so to speak, and it’s providing steady cash flow.

Ash Patel: Do you still have that business today?

Ketan Patel: I had that business up until COVID. COVID is when challenges started in the industry and things like that. But for the last 3 years, I was involved passively in the business.

Ash Patel: Okay. You’re working a lot less, you’re making somewhat passive income from that business… What’s your next step?

Ketan Patel: The next step would be “Hey, I have a lot of time now, and I’m buying these three-unit deals.” But again, the question of scale comes into play. “Is this really sustainable to go to the next level?” Then the idea of multifamily syndication came to my head, and my journey started taking another direction.

Ash Patel: Tell me how you got into that and what your steps were to get into syndication.

Ketan Patel: A very interesting thing, because it leads back to Joe Fairless… What happened was, I was at a wedding in California and I’m surrounded by all these pharmacist friends, doctor friends… And they are not investing their money in real estate like how I’m doing. So I had an idea to build this syndication business, but I don’t know much about it. I came home, asked my brother to make me a website, and he tells me, “Why don’t you find a sample site?” I did a Google search, I came across someone, invested with them, and they introduced me to Joe. I talked to Joe, and he’s like, “Hey, I’m throwing the first Best Ever Conference.” I went there, and before you know it, the whole trajectory was changed.

Ash Patel: Fantastic. What specifically were the steps that you took to get your first syndication?

Ketan Patel: I realized that the first piece was getting the education right. Understanding the numbers, understanding the market, understanding a particular strategy, is it value-add, distressed property classes, understanding the numbers, underwriting of the deal… So getting as much education as you can get, that’s step number one. Once you have that base, now step number two would be to actually talk to brokers, sponsors, or partners to look at some actual deals to see how the theory kind of works into the practice, so to speak.

Ash Patel: So step one is educating, unless you’re buying a home care business. You just dive into that one. [laughter] Then getting the partners and the sponsors. Talk more about that. What partners specifically, and what type of sponsors did you get?

Ketan Patel: I’m a firm believer that we all have different strengths and different passions. Mapping out your strategy – I like a little bit of talking to investors and building the database, so I figured “Let me partner with folks who already have a good deal flow. This way, I could plug my investors, provide some value to my investors, I could get some experience, and as I grow the business, now I could start bringing my own deals. That was my strategy. For somebody else, it could be that they are experts at finding deals, getting those connections, and they could find money sources, so to speak. Or if they have enough bandwidth, they could do both things by themselves at the level they are.

Ash Patel: Okay. I’m assuming when you started getting investors, it was a lot of that friends, family, and colleagues?

Ketan Patel: Yes.

Ash Patel: How did you approach them and what was your pitch to them?

Ketan Patel: I realized that the inner circle, so to speak, people who already know and trust me – it just makes much more sense to have this conversation, rather than try to build relationships with new people. There’s a place for that. So in the beginning, to be honest with you, that uncomfortable feeling comes up. “Man, I don’t want to talk about this to my family or my pharmacist friends or something like that. They’re going to think that I’m salesy. What if this deal doesn’t work out? What if I miss something, what would happen?” So all of that mental chatter and the limiting beliefs, it was huge for me to overcome that. I think a lot of people struggle with that piece.

So I went over that and started having some conversations, picking up the phone, and just taking genuine interest with people and connecting with them. “Hey, what have you been up to in your life? I haven’t spoken to you in a year or two or four.” And then naturally, you listen, and you build rapport. At some point, they’ll ask you what you do. Then I’ll tell them about my pharmacy journey, senior care, and what I’ve been up to… And some folks are interested, some folks are not, and that’s okay. Then we could go on to the next steps.

Ash Patel: Ketan, that mindset struggle, I think, is real for a lot of people. “What if something goes wrong? Now I’ve got my family and my friends involved. I don’t want to mix family, friends, and business…” How did you overcome that?

Ketan Patel: So if I hadn’t bought that first property, I wouldn’t have been here. Think about providing value to your friends and family. They invest with you; who knows what else would happen in their life? So step number one is to reframe it. Instead of taking, we’re coming from a giving perspective. That’s number one. Second of all, the fear. If the deal didn’t work out and something bad happened, it’s not the end of the world. You will learn, they will learn, we will be better next time. It’s just a fear that once the deal goes bad, everything’s going to be over.

Break: [00:14:18][00:14:59]

Ash Patel: I’m going to go over that one more time. I think that’s very powerful advice. So one, you went at it from a pure value perspective. How do I add value to the people that I’m talking to? Then you distance yourself from the outcome. So it didn’t matter to you whether they invested or not, you were there truly to provide value. Then the last thing you did was address the what-if’s, which I think is very difficult for people to do. But in your mind, you said, “Okay, if this one doesn’t work out, we pick up and figure out a solution, we move on, maybe on the next one.” Those are three great things that I think will help a lot of people overcome the challenge of friends and family and mixing that with business and investors. I think that’s great advice. Have you gone beyond friends and family in future deals?

Ketan Patel: Yes. Once you start with friends and family, you get your feet warm, you understand the little bit of logistics of bringing money to the deal and everything. Then I started reaching out to people on BiggerPockets or LinkedIn. Then you use all of these marketing strategies, so to speak, to spread your message so you could connect with more people, serve them, and raise capital.

Ash Patel: Okay. You’re a high-performance coach. Tell me how that applies to real estate. What things have you helped people with, specific to real estate?

Ketan Patel: When it comes to real estate on a broad 10,000-foot overview, people always have a challenge with either the mindset, or if the mindset’s all good, then it’s a strategy (“We need a good strategy that works for us”), or then it’s the execution. When it comes to mindset, it’s just understanding our limiting beliefs. Understanding the fears, how to reframe them, getting the clarity of what we want, our outcomes, and things like that. When we have all that, now what is the plan to go after it? Whether it’s buying a building, whether it’s raising capital, what are those strategic things that must be in place? Since we all are different, we should devise a strategy that works for ourselves.

Now we have this strategy, we have this plan, but when it comes to execution, “Hey, I have a W2 job. How do I manage my time better? How do I do the right things at the right time?” I’m not trying to make it perfect or try to make sure this is done up to this point, or I’m not moving, not getting over, all of those things that basically come into the arena of real estate investing.

Ash Patel: What is a repetitive issue that you see specific to real estate, either investors, syndicators, or just people in the real estate industry? What’s the one recurring theme that you help people with?

Ketan Patel: There are a lot of recurring things, but when it comes to mindset, it’s just the limiting belief. For example, “Hey, there are so many people out there raising money, or “Everybody’s hunting for deals. Would I really find the deals?” That’s a recurring thing. Or just getting disappointed. “I made five calls, nothing happened.” Or “That goal looks so daunting that I’m not even going to start”, so to speak. It just seems too far-fetched.

Ash Patel: Well, let’s address that. There are too many people out there raising money. How do I compete with that?

Ketan Patel: Here’s the thing… Think of this as a racetrack. There’s an unlimited number of racetracks. You’re on your own racetrack and nobody’s there. The way you could connect with investors, the way you have access to your sphere of influence and your message, and things like that – you’re the only person, there’s nobody else. Somebody has something else going on.

Then the way you look at deals, or your particular business, or the market, is just you. There are plenty of people out there that have just invested in stocks and they are waiting for someone like you to educate them. There are plenty of people in your sphere of influence that never even thought that there’s a thing called multifamily passive investing. I didn’t know about it until years ago, even though I was in business and whatnot. So there’s plenty of people out there and you could support them.

Ash Patel: Alright, I’ll give you the win on that one. That was good. The next one is “There are no good deals out there anymore.”

Ketan Patel: If that’s what you’re thinking, that there are no good deals out there, it’s just a way of not taking the responsibility. When I say there’s not a good deal out there or I don’t have enough time, it looks like it’s not my problem. It’s the market’s problem. But when we go underneath it, let’s go one layer down. Why are there no good deals out in the market? Maybe I don’t have enough broker connections. Somebody might be thinking that. Somebody might be thinking, “Because I’ve only done two deals, and all the good deals go to the people that have done two dozen deals.” We have to uncover what that underlying belief is.

You and I both know very well that right at this moment, people are closing some stellar deals. What must they be believing in? And what do I believe? So somebody who’s getting the deal, what are they believing? They’re believing that “I put five LOIs, it didn’t work out. Let me submit 10 LOIs.” “Can I change my strategy? The last three months I talked to brokers and agents, maybe I’ll do something.” They are thinking something differently.

Ash Patel: That’s a great mindset shift. Great answers. Ketan, what is your best real estate investing advice ever?

Ketan Patel: My best advice would be to make sure any goals you want to do, you double it, triple it. It’s absolutely doable. Just keep plugging at it, one week at a time.

Ash Patel: That is great advice. Are you ready for the lightning round?

Ketan Patel: Yes.

Ash Patel: Alright. Ketan, what is the Best Ever Book you’ve recently read?

Ketan Patel: It would be Atomic Habits by James Clear.

Ash Patel: What was your big take away from that?

Ketan Patel: The big takeaway is the subconscious habits that we are not even aware of influence a lot in our work and personal life on a day-to-day basis.

Ash Patel: What was a subconscious habit that you discovered and/or changed?

Ketan Patel: One thing I discovered was just the to-do list, making it a little bit more efficient. Rather than just plugging everything there, I just want to make sure I’m only selecting the things that I could do today, so to speak, and keeping the rest away. Because otherwise, visually, it’s going to queue my mind. “Hey, this is all undone.” Instead of “Hey, this is what we need to do.” The undone stuff’s not here.

Ash Patel: That is great advice. I think that applies to a lot of people, including me, struggling with that to-do list. Ketan, what’s the Best Ever way you like to give back?

Ketan Patel: I like to help in India with putting these water filtration tanks. There are certain parts where children don’t get clean water, so they are getting that. Also libraries, some computers, and things like that towards the schools and stuff.

Ash Patel: That is a great outreach. Ketan, how can the Best Ever listeners reach out to you?

Ketan Patel: Absolutely. They could go on my website, ketanpatel.com. I do have a 5 Pillars of Peak Performance guide waiting for them. For those folks who are looking to get to the next level and they cannot wait, they could book a strategy session with me, and I’ll be happy to guide them.

Ash Patel: That is fantastic. Ketan, thank you so much for your time today. You’ve given us some glimpses of mindset shifts that lead to success. You just refuse to fail. You took on a homecare business that you knew nothing about. You knew you wanted to get into real estate. You left a comfortable career in pharmacy to pursue your dreams, so thank you for sharing all of that advice today. Best Ever Listeners, thank you for joining us, and have a Best Ever Day.

Ketan Patel: Thank you so much for having me on the show.

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