My Apartment Syndication Journey

August 8, 2019

We closed on our 240+ Self-Storage facility today. We hired 3rd party management to manage the facility. The website was live on day one .  Within a few hours of closing we were on site meeting with the management company and discussing which units to get rent ready 1st.

The property was only 30-40% occupied and the current rents are close to 30% under market. The plan is to the 1st increase occupancy, then begin to raise rents. 

We did budget for the big ticket items such as new coatings on the roofs, gate updates, fence repair, painting, turning an apartment into more storage, seal coating and more.

Raising the money turned out to be the easy part. I was hands off on that part. My partners had so much confidence in the deal and the ability to raise the capital, that the 1st investor pitch was 8 days before we closed.  We closed right on time as planned.

July 2, 2019

We sold our primary residence on Mt Zion Rd in York PA today and moved to Lancaster to live in an apartment. We had the home custom built back in 2005.  

After years of listening to Rob Kiyosaki and Grant Cardone, I came to agree with them that your house is a liability, not an asset. 

In addition, our goal is to live in different locations for 6 months at a time then move to a new place. Although it is not impossible to continue to maintain a permanent residence it did not make good financial sense. 

This also goes back to reading the book The One Thing. Know what your long term goal is and create a plan to get to that “One Thing”.  

A large part of the reason for selling my business Carryout Courier is that it does not fit into the long term plan to travel. And if does not meet your long term goal cut the strings and move on.  

I still have all my properties in York that I self manage.  I will continue to add to that portfolio, so we will not be moving to from York over the next few years. But will gradually branch out and hire 3rd party management or reach enough scale to control the property management in house, which is probably more likely.

York and Central PA is my insider information. Unlike stocks, it is not illegal to have insider information.  The most common ways would be by asset type, acquired skills or special geographic knowledge.

June 28-29, 2019

I attended the Real Estate Guys conference “How To Win Funds and Influence People” in Dallas TX.  In a nutshell, you need to discover 3-5 problems or motivations that will drive a person to make a decision in the direction you are trying to influence them.

Then confirm you heard the person correctly. Then pitch your product or service and how your product or service meets their needs. And if your product or service does not meet their needs become a connector, and work to connect them with a solution that will solve their problem. Full notes from the conference are here.

May 28, 2019

Got my first large deal under contract and have the investors already lined up. A 240+ unit self-storage facility located in York PA. (more to details come after we close).

My focus for the last few months was on finding a deal. I went with the focus “if you have a good deal, the money will find you.”  Turned out to be true. The 2nd investor I pitched said yep we are all in. And let’s do 100% cash and no financing.  Done.

May 4-5, 2019

Attended the Real Estate Guys “Syndication Fast Start High-Intensity Training”. Primary points of interest and notes:

  • Bring value to the marketplace
  • Don’t diminish your story.
  • Know your short and long term goals.
  • Know the one thing that will have the greatest impact.
  • Collect social proof along the way.
  • Be a connector.
  • Who do I want to be and what do I want to be known for or a recognized expert?
  • Focus on one thing till you get to the next.

February 21-23, 2019

It was off to Denver Colorado for the Best Ever Conference by Joe Fairless the following weekend. My wife and daughter flew into Dallas on February 16, 2019, and we made it a road trip to get to Denver by Thursday 21st.

This was the best conference I have attended so far. It was super organized and there were a ton of networking opportunities.  The conference started with a golfing event at Top Golf host by Dan Hanford.

Friday morning the Best Ever Conference kicked off with an Economic Update by John Chang of Marcus & Millichap. Next up was a panel discussion on various asset classes.  

  • Neal Bawa – Student Housing
  • Mark Podolsky – Land Deals
  • Jaclyn Gibson – RV Parks
  • Nitzan Mosery – Marinas

Additional noteworthy speakers included Brandon Turner of Bigger Pockets. Gene Guarino discussing assisted living. Nathan Tabor discussing investing in highly distressed C class apartments.  Nathan expects to get access to all units on the final walk-through before close, if not he expects the worst case and immediately takes $40,000 off the price he will pay. 

The Success Blueprint by life Coach Trevor McGregor was valuable focusing on:

  • Conditioning your mindset
  • Know your outcome
  • Spend your time on high-value task
  • Take massive action
  • Farm out your weaknesses
  • Master time management
  • Build strong networks 

Complete notes from the Best Ever Conference can be found here.

February 14-16, 2019

I attended the next Real Estate Guys Secrets to Successful Syndication event in Dallas TX.  Another great event with a high caliber of individuals. Speaks and attendees included Brad Sumrok discussing what he and his group look for in their deals. Jerry Horst and his son in law Michael Manthei from Lancaster PA. 

December 28-31, 2018

With my pitch deck in hand and the added clarity I got from putting my thoughts on paper I was ready to build out this website. And so I set out to do my best at writing content. (my kids will be the 1st to say I am not a great writer)

I have also struggled to come up with a voice and put myself out there with a thought leadership platform and build my brand, again in Joe Fairless’s list of actionable steps.  

Creating my about page on this website has helped me get more confidence and build a starting point. It is a catch 22, how can I say I syndicate apartment buildings when I never did that before. 

I feel the confidence now that if someone ever says “you do not know what you are talking about with apartment investing or multi-family syndication” that will be okay, I never said I did know it all.

I can now give my real-world experience and talk with authenticity and have zero (close to zero) fear of coming off as a fake.  I have learned a great deal in 25 years of running my own business and investing in real estate with my own money. And I have experience in using private funds to buy and renovate properties. 

December 19-25, 2018

I worked on my investor presentation packet and completed the 1st draft. It really helped narrow my focus and give me the confidence to articulate to investors my plan.

December 1-4, 2018

Following the steps laid out by Best Ever Apartment Syndication Podcast I evaluated 7 markets.  I really just reaffirmed my confidence in Central PA although I will evaluate properties within a two-hour drive which meet my investment criteria

Next, I loosely evaluated 200 properties in Central PA. Again I was already familiar with many of these complexes. The complexes would often request Carryout Courier menus for their move in packets, so I had already personally visited many of the complexes I looked at.

I did learn that almost all allowed pets, where zero of my properties allowed pets.  Also the rent they charged led to believe that I am underpricing my properties.

I moved on to the next step in Joe’s advice and created a daily affirmation for my self with specific expectations of:

  • Only look at properties of 24 or more units.
  • Have commitments from investors for at least $800,000 by April 1, 2019.
  • Write an LOI (letter of intent) on at least three properties that meet my investment criteria by May 1, 2019.
  • Make sure everyone I talk to knows what I am working on. 
  • Close on at least 60+ units by the end of 2019. 

November 28, 2018

I have become a daily listener of the Best Ever Apartment Syndication Podcast by Joe Fairless and Theo Hicks. I bought the book and read it over Thanksgiving weekend.

Joe’s book lays out the steps to follow. They do not tell you it will be fast or easy.  A quick summary of the steps they listed out:

  • Know what outcome you want to achieve.
  • Create a daily affirmation.
  • Build your brand and create a thought leadership platform.
  • Evaluate 7 markets.
  • Evaluate 200 properties in the market you choose.
  • Know your investment criteria.
  • Create a pitch deck.
  • Find investors.
  • Build your team.
  • Find a deal and make an offer.
  • Create a business plan for that property.
  • Know your exit strategy.
  • Close on the property.
  • Execute the business plan.
  • Communicate with your investors, both good news and bad news.
  • Sell the asset and finish strong.

Joe lays it out, it is up to me to execute the strategy.

Friday & Saturday, October 12 & 13, 2018

I attended my 1st mentoring meetup thru the Real Estate Guys. It was a small group of about 25-30 people. About 20% were doctors or dentists investing as passive investors or as general partners in their own real estate syndications. 

The event was held at the Trump Hotel in Las Vegas.  That was the nicest hotel I ever stayed at.

Friday & Saturday, September 14 & 15, 2018

On Friday and Saturday, I attended the Secrets of Successful Syndication Real Estate Conference. It was great to meet “The Guys” from the podcast that I have been listening to for many years.  I met a group from Lancaster PA and Victor Menasce who puts out a great podcast, the Real Estate Espresso Podcast

In addition, I signed up for the Real Estate Guys Mentoring group with the next event in Las Vegas in October. 

Thursday, September 13, 2018

I attended the Old Capital Multifamily Conference 2018 at AT&T Stadium.  

Old Capital is the best podcast for hearing interviews of other investors buying and owning large multi-family complexes (200+ unit deals).  I was way out of my league at the conference, but I need to “get in the game” as was the conference motto.  I was meeting people that owned 3000 units, 5000 units, controlled $300 million + of real estate. There were billions of dollars of wealth at the conference.

There were over 650 people in attendance and Roger Staubach, former Dallas Cowboys quarterback and successful real estate investor was the keynote speaker.  

About 60% of people in attendance were focused on the Dallas Fort Worth market, but that still left another 40% from the rest of the country.

They even had leaders from Fannie Mae give a talk on what they were looking for in funding deals in the multi-family space.

September 2018 and before

Check out my about page to see how I got to this point.