Posts tagged "management"

JC 080: Investing in Manufactured Homes with Andrew Keel

December 2nd, 2019 | no comments

(Lonnie) Deals on Wheels

Andrew Keel is the founder of the Keel Team, LLC. He and his team currently manage 16 manufactured housing communities and are continuing to grow. Andrew uses his expertise to turn around under-managed, manufactured housing communities by utilizing proven systems to maximize occupancy while reducing operating costs, thus generating revenue.

The Keel Team specializes in bringing in mobile homes to fill vacant lots, implementing utility bill pay back programs, and improving overall management and operating revenue. The result of his efforts significantly boosts the asset value and net operating income of these communities.

Andrew Keel joins John Carney today in The Real Estate Locker Room to amplify your mobile home game.

Six Key Points:

  1. Do a Lonnie Deal. Buy a mobile home in a mobile home park nearby, put work into the home, and sell the structure but keep the lot so you can collect the lot rent.
  2. You will have immediate success when you “become the bank” and finance the home. Owning a mobile home plus the lot has tax benefits, depreciation schedules, and creates wealth.
  3. In mobile home parks, you can own the lot the home is on. The tenants can own the mobile home itself. Therefore you are not responsible for home upkeep as a landlord. The annual turnover rate for a mobile home community is only 5-6%.
  4. Be obsessed and you will be successful. Go all in with your passion and learn everything you can. Find a mentor and build your team so that you can advance to a higher level of real estate.
  5. Find an experienced operator and invest passively with them for your 1st deal to learn from the operator and the process.
  6. Review your goals daily. It will train your mind to create solutions and options in your business and everyday life.

Favorite Sports:

  • Football
  • Ironman
  • Triathlons

Favorite Athlete:

Favorite Books:

Pro tip:

  • Keep a healthy lifestyle.

Resources Mentioned:

Reach Out to Andrew Keel:

Thank you, Andrew, for taking the time to help us understand how to be successful in mobile home investments with the audience.

Listen to all the episodes of The Real Estate Locker Room Show and sign up for my FREE monthly newsletter at www.johncarneyonline.com

Connect with John Carney
Facebook: @JohnCarneyOnline
Twitter: @John_M_Carney
Instagram: @johnm_carney

© John Carney 2019

JC 063: Getting Started In the Multifamily Community with Neal Bawa

March 27th, 2019 | no comments

Putting Education In Action for Profit

Neal Bawa is a  true pioneer in the commercial real estate and multifamily industry with an impressive track record to back up his experience. As the CEO and Founder at Grocapitus, a commercial real estate investment company, Neal sources, negotiates and acquires commercial properties across the U.S. for 230+ investors. His current portfolio includes more than 1500 units/beds across multifamily and student housing properties in 7 U.S. states. Additionally, Neal is the CEO at MultifamilyU, an apartment investing education company, the co-founder of the largest Multifamily Investing Meetup network in the U.S. (BAMF), speaks at events all over the country, and produces his own podcasts and radio shows.

Neal Bawa joins John Carney today in The Real Estate Locker Room to share how he made the transition from the tech industry into the multifamily real estate market, the secret to his Meetup groups success, the importance of education and the action that follows it.

Five Key Points:

  1. People want and value education – they don’t want to be sold to. That’s been the key to the Bay Area Multi Family Meetup group’s growth and success.
  2. Because there’s so much money in the marketplace, unemployment is under 4%, there’s great job growth, and there’s $40 billion coming into the country every month, it is easier than ever in history to raise money, but it’s very hard to find good properties and projects.
  3. Education is not beneficial by itself. Action is the point of education.
  4. Multifamily is a get-rich-slowly business because you’re typically holding companies for 3-5 years or longer.
  5. Fixing and flipping properties will get more money in your pocket faster, but it’s not scalable like Multifamily. More than 50% of the Fortune 100 people in the United States hold very large amounts of Multifamily.

 

Favorite Sports:

  • Cricket

Favorite Athlete:

Favorite Book:

Pro tip:

  • If you’re managing Multifamily, and you’re asset-managing a property manager, ask yourself this question every week: “What are the things this property manager always says he does and never does (like tenant lead generation), and is it possible for me to outsource that to another group?”

Resources Mentioned:

Reach Out to Neal Bawa:

LinkedIn

Thank you Neal for taking the time to share your valuable multifamily continuing education resources with the audience.

Listen to all the episodes of The Real Estate Locker Room Show and sign up for my FREE monthly newsletter at www.johncarneyonline.com

Connect with John Carney
Facebook: @JohnCarneyOnline
Twitter: @John_M_Carney
Instagram: @johnm_carney

© John Carney 2019

JC 022: Grit and Billion Dollar Real Estate with Brendon Bergen

August 23rd, 2017 | no comments

Your success and failure depends on you

Every deal starts with a financial model. Brendon Bergen is the Director of Asset Management for Affirmed Housing Group in San Diego. He embraces the team aspect of the real estate game and is always on the lookout for the most efficient way to operate an asset and add value for the residents.

Brendon’s company looks after the environment and has implemented solar powered electrical systems at their properties in order to strive for Net Zero electric. Solar offers a triple win solution; the owner benefits, the city benefits and the tenants pay a fraction of “on grid” electrical prices. They install high efficiency water systems as well.

Brendan loves working on repositioning older, rundown assets. He tackles the challenge of each project head on and enjoys witnessing the tangible transformation of the renovations. Improving the asset and the tenant experience results in win, win.

Brendon moved from Cleveland to California to pursue his real estate career right at the beginning of ‘The Great Recession’ – the worst time to be knocking on doors to interview for a job in real estate. He relied on the grit that he developed on the wresting mat to manage the “no’s” that he received job prospecting. His perseverance paid off and Brendon landed a job as an analyst for a portfolio holding retail centers, office and industrial real estate.

Brendon’s number one tip for success in the real estate game is to be resilient. He highly recommends joining the Urban Land Institute as a networking platform and a way to learn who the players are in your market.

5 Key Points:

  • Always look for ways to be more efficient and add value.
  • Surround yourself with the right experts.
  • Add solar technology to multifamily and commercial real estate projects.
  • Understand the fundamentals of real estate development on small projects before you tackle larger projects.
  • Be resilient. Your success and failure depends on you.

Favorite athlete: Lebron James – NBA player

Favorite book: An Unfair Advantage by Chad M Robinchaux

Favorite quote: “The strongest iron comes from the hottest flame”

Brendon trains for success by waking up early, working out and getting to work early.

Connect with Brendon on LinkedIn or send him an email, brendon@affirmedhousing.com

Affirmed Housing Group – www.affirmedhousing.com

Thank you Brendon for taking time out of your busy day to share your success tips with us today.

Listen to all the episodes of The Real Estate Locker Room Show and sign up for my FREE monthly newsletter at http://www.johncarneyonline.com

Connect with John Carney
Facebook: www.facebook.com/JohnCarneyOnline
Twitter: @John_M_Carney
Instagram: @johnm_carney

 

© John Carney 2017

JC 021: Finding the Perfect Property Manager with Riana King

August 16th, 2017 | no comments
Everyone on your real estate team must share the same goal

Riana King is an Arizona native with fourteen years of experience in the real estate industry. For the past seven years, she has worked for Real Property Management (RPM), which has locations in Scottsdale, AZ and Tucson, AZ. Riana manages residential long-term, short-term vacation, multi-family, and commercial properties and her clients range from accidental landlords to clients with much larger portfolios.

According to Riana, the most important thing to look for in a property management company is a solid foundation. She warns against part-time property managers and one-man shops that might not have the time or resources to fully devote themselves to each client. A sign of a good company, she says, is the ability to call them and get a real person on the phone right away. At RPM, Riana prides herself on her own communication and reachability.

Landlords don’t have to be local to Arizona to take advantage of Riana’s services. Riana uses technology to keep out-of-state and even overseas clients in the loop and acts as their eyes and ears. If her clients need someone to go in-person to check on their properties, Riana is the one to do it.

Investment property is a business, Riana says, and you have to be able to trust the other people on your team so that you can use your own time wisely. Riana works to keep her strategies in line with her what her clients want. She says that the key is to find a property manager with the resources of a large company, but who treats you as an individual and helps you reach your specific goals.

Property managers like Riana spend most of their day “putting out fires,” which can be stressful for some but which Riana finds exciting and motivating. She lives by the words of former UCLA basketball coach John Wooden, “Discipline yourself so others won’t need to.”

5 Key Points:

  1. Communication is key. Good property managers bridge the communication gap between landlord and tenant. Beware of property managers who are difficult to reach on the phone or who don’t respond promptly to communications.
  2. Have questions for potential property managers. Have a list of questions ready when searching for a new property manager and prioritize the ones that are most important to you.
  3. Good property managers understand your goals. Don’t be afraid to cancel a property manager that isn’t right for you.
  4. Bad property managers will spend your money without you. Poor managers don’t abide by maintenance terms and will spend money without calling you first. Good property managers will always call you before spending your money.
  5. Good landlords recognize that real estate investing is a business. Be prepared to set aside your personal feelings, take reasonable risk and accept that incidentals happen. Even great tenants can be unpredictable and landlords have to understand that.

Favorite Athlete: Peyton Manning, former NFL quarterback

Favorite Book: #GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso

Thank you Riana for taking time out to share some great property management tips with us.

Connect with Riana King and Real Property Management on Facebook or check out RPM’s Scottsdale and Tucson websites.

Thank you Riana for taking time out to share some great property management tips with us.

Listen to all the episodes of The Real Estate Locker Room Show and sign up for my FREE monthly newsletter at http://www.johncarneyonline.com

POST GAME REPORT: Episode Transcript

JC 021: Finding the Perfect Property Manager with Riana King

Everyone on your real estate team must share the same goal

Announcer: Welcome to the, “Real Estate Locker Room Show” with John Carney. Did you know investing in real estate is a team sport? Join John and his guests as they explore the business of real estate and athletic competition. The goal for this show is to grant you direct access to the real estate pros that are closing profitable deals and growing their businesses. On the “Real Estate Locker Room Show” we are getting in the ring with successful investors, developers, operators, and all of the industry professionals to learn what it takes to achieve on-going success. Now it’s time to kick-off and level up with new ways to grow your real estate business.

 

John Carney: Welcome back everybody, to another episode of The Real Estate Locker Room Show. As always, I’m your host John Carney, coming at you today from Cleveland, Ohio. Joining me on the line in Scottsdale, Arizona, is Riana King. She is a property manager and she’s going to be talking to all the investors out there; she’s going to be addressing what you need to look out for when you’re including a property manager on your team. So if you’re a landlord, stay tuned because this is going to be a great episode.

As always, always grateful that everybody tunes in and thank you for the reviews we’re getting on iTunes. So without any further ado, we’ll kick this off by introducing Riana King, who was born and raised in Arizona, so she is a native in the Arizona market. She’s worked in the real estate game for over 14 years, specializing in many aspects of niche marketing and investment properties. For the last seven years she has used her focus to cultivate and grow one of the state’s most effective and proven property management companies, RPM, which stands for Real Property Management. Her client list ranges from accidental landlords to large portfolio owners and her property management services include residential long term rentals, short term vacation rentals, multifamily complexes and small commercial.

So, looking forward to learning a little bit more from you Riana. Welcome to the show.

 

Riana King: Hi. I’m excited to be here.

 

John Carney: Perfect. And I did get that correct, your offices are currently in Scottsdale, is that right?

 

Riana King: Yes, we are in Scottsdale, and then we also have a location in Tucson. So we’re covering both major metropolitan areas in Arizona.

 

John Carney: Awesome. Well, we like to kick this off with a — we’re in the real estate locker room, so just a quick sports question to get the conversation going. Do you have a favorite athlete?

 

Riana King: It would be Peyton, I think he’s a great role model and I love the way that he leads his team. So that’s my guy.

 

John Carney: So looking at the quarterback leading the football team and what a great competitor Peyton was. Do you see a correlation between that and what you’re doing to lead your team?

 

Riana King: Absolutely. I mean, you can’t have one person that is not part of the group, and isn’t brought into the bigger process. So he does a really good job of getting everyone motivated and helping them feel like they’re part of the team and understanding what the goal is, and property management you have to have that.

 

John Carney: I agree and believe that it doesn’t matter what product line you’re in, whether it’s single family or retail or industrial, if you’re not self-managing, the property manager is just a critical member of your team. For the people in the Phoenix and Tucson market that are lucky enough to stumble across your business, that is fantastic. Can you share with the audience what they need to be looking for in a property manager and in your niche?

 

Riana King: I would say you definitely want to look at what builds their company. We hear a lot of horror stories about people who are doing property management as a part time gig, whether they’re a real estate agent or just someone who decided they’re going to be a one-man shop. Those are where we get the biggest horror stories. We’ll get people who can’t get a hold of anyone, or unfortunately in our market we’ve seen just some really sad stories.

So look for those key things like what are they based off of? What’s their team look like? One of the things that we definitely pride ourselves on is communication. That’s one of the biggest fears with our clients is: can I get a hold of someone when I want to know what’s going on? And communication; can you call their office and get someone on the phone? That’s one of the biggest things.

 

John Carney: Yea, I would imagine that Phoenix, just being the real estate market that it is, you have a lot of opportunity there, especially over the last ten years, and ongoing with the growth and the price fluctuation. I would have to imagine you see landlords and investors coming from all over the world to the Phoenix market. Give me a little bit of background on your experience with your out of state and overseas investors.

 

Riana King: We have quite a large amount of experience working with clients that are out of state and out of the country, some of which who’ve never stepped foot in the United States, but realized the opportunities here. So we really hold their hand through the process and act as their eyes and ears for everything that’s needed. All of our systems are virtual; so their statements are online, we offer periodic inspections so they can actually see what the property looks like, up to every three months, if they want. And then of course, any time they want us to go look at the property we can do that as well. But everything’s very seamless for them, the portal, payment-wise, it’s all direct deposit. So the technology has really opened up so many opportunities for people who can look out afar and see an opportunity and be able to tackle it.

 

John Carney: So using technology for online systems and communication. As a lot of the listeners have heard, and as you know, since we’ve had a business relationship stemming back to my Australia days, in Australia, as a tenant, I was renting in Melbourne, our properties were generally inspected through some companies twice a year, and quarterly on some occasions, at the landlord’s request. So that was common practice. Is this becoming a common practice in America or is that a real point of difference that you offer your clients?

 

Riana King: I believe it’s starting to become more popular as there are more investors who are not necessarily in the back yard of their properties. And a lot of people now are looking at investment property as a business, and being a good entrepreneur is knowing that you have to trust other people to do things so that you can utilize your time. So with having eyes on the property whenever you want, that’s become a really big demand and I think that that’s going to continue to grow.

 

John Carney: So, the other side of the equation that you have to be good at as a property manager or management company, is bridging that communication between landlord and tenant, and hopefully not only retaining the tenant but increasing the rent, correct?

 

Riana King: Absolutely, yea. So having someone that understands your goals is going to be key. There are some management companies who will never increase rent, there are some who will increase without you knowing. We tend to operate a little more on the: what’s your goal? Some of our owners say, “Hey, you know what? This tenant has been in there for three years, they’re a great tenant, I don’t want to increase their rent, let’s just keep them. I don’t want to have to find another tenant if they decide not to.”

Having someone who has all of the tools of a large company but can still work with you on your individual goals, that’s really important and you’re not going to find that with every company that you talk to.

 

John Carney: I agree, when you have a number of different personalities involved in the real estate business, especially on the landlord, tenancy, management side of things, do you have any kind of good advice that you would give to someone who hasn’t found that right manager, who aren’t in Phoenix where you’re operating, but just might be in any town around the world and is really struggling to find that mix? Because I suppose I believe that you need to be able to — what you just said about understanding the goals, that’s important. But I think there’s a certain type of experience that someone should be looking for and flow with personality.

 

Riana King: Yea I agree and when you’re looking at property managers, have a list of questions ready to ask them. You can google, I’ve seen lists before of different questions to ask. They may not get every single question that you’re looking for the exact answer, but kind of prioritise within your thinking as to which ones are your major pain points. Where do you really want to be served, and look at those as weighted questions. And don’t be afraid to talk to a lot of different people.

Don’t be afraid to cancel your property manager because they’re not doing their job. A lot of times we’ll get people that will call us and they’ve been with someone for a lot of years and they have had a lot of bad service but thought it was just going to be too daunting to change. And they’ve suffered because of it. In our state, the lease stays with the property not with the property manager, so when someone transfers, there’s no interruption to the tenant except they have to change where they pay their rent. All of the terms are still the same when they transfer over, so there’s really no reason why you should stay with someone if you’re not getting the service that you are looking for.

 

John Carney: So would bad service leave clues that a new or even a seasoned landlord that might just be distracted with their life or their other business, are there some clues as to hey wait a minute, this is a red flag, I really need to be going out to the market and spending some time researching alternative property management companies?

 

Riana King: Absolutely. One of the biggest ones, and biggest fears that I get on a regular basis is people worried about maintenance costs. That’s a huge pain point. If your property manager is not abiding by the maintenance term in your management agreement and charging you funds without approval, I get that all the time and I just shake my head. You need to cancel them because that’s not correct, that’s not what’s in the law. There’s something wrong that they’re not talking to you before they’re spending your money. Our agreement, our standard is $350, so anything over that we will call you, absolutely every time. Anything under that we would take care of because it’s just easier that way. So that’s one of the biggest things that I would say: don’t let them spend your money without your approval if your agreement says that.

The next one is going to be communication. If you’re calling, emailing, you’re not getting responses, that’s an issue. That’s not acceptable. Our company, our rule is within 24 hours, even if we don’t have an answer for you we want to reply and say look, we’re researching this, we will get back to you. At least that peace of mind. But I would say those two things are going to be your biggest flags and your most common things that people will struggle with.

 

John Carney: So that really — thanks for addressing those two, sort of, maybe, items that keep a landlord that needs to be strongly considering switching over their property management to taking some action. On the flipside, wearing the property manager hat and having the ideal client walk in through the door, talk a little bit about what you look for in a landlord that just makes the relationship grow. Because real estate investing is a business, businesses exist to grow, and you want to multiply that portfolio, right?

So when you see someone walk in the door and you quickly learn that, yea this is a great client, can you maybe shed light on a few of those characteristics to maybe help people make good decisions or reevaluate their systems?

 

Riana King: Yea, absolutely. So with investing in real estate, you have to look at it as a business, you have to take the personal feelings out of it. You need to prepare yourself for incidentals. I get a lot of people that ask, “Does a property manager pay for the maintenance?” Well no, it’s your investment, you have to pay to take care of it. Or why doesn’t the property manager pay the rent if the tenant leaves? Or can you guarantee that the property wont’ get trashed? We can’t guarantee that stuff, we do our best to prevent it, but in the end, again, it is an investment and there is a risk with investment.

So having that basic understanding that it is an investment, there is risk involved, but someone who is prepared and knowledgeable and, look I’ve got this amount of money set up outside just in case the air conditioning breaks, or something happens. Those things are going to happen and unfortunately, we are dealing with people’s lives and lives can change. So even if we find a tenant who has got an amazing job, amazing credit score, perfect rental history, there’s no guarantee that that person’s life isn’t going to change drastically and they’ll have some issues and pay late every now and then or something. So just don’t expect perfection, we are kind of in the middle, we’re the middle man, so we are working on behalf of the owner, and I think as long as you understand that, that is very helpful for everyone involved.

 

John Carney: Thanks for explaining that, because I believe that property managers — probably this is the third time I might be saying this — but it’s such an important part of making it all work, and making it all profitable. And it takes just a real special personality to do it, right? I mean there’s an attention to detail, there’s a constant —

 

Riana King: But you have to have thick skin, very thick skin.

 

John Carney: Right, and I mean not everybody goes through their entire day, waking day at work, just putting out fires, and that’s how I look at the role property managers play. Building relationships is a big key part of it, but I mean there’s generally fires that need to be put out. So how do you train for that? How do you stay motivated, knowing that that’s coming at you day to day after seven years?

 

Riana King: You know, I enjoy it because it’s never the same day. There’s always something new and that in itself, I kind of thrive off of. But in the end, we’re helping people. It’s seeing a new tenant who is just getting their first house and they’re so excited and in love with it, you know, and knowing the owner who is really excited to have that first tenant in their property. Those highs definitely help cover the lows. And there are lows. There’s a lot of, like you said, putting out fires and you really just kind of have to have thick skin and know that it’s all relative at the end of the day and there’s always going to be something new.

 

John Carney: Right, never a dull moment on the property management side, or on the ownership side, I suppose, for that matter, trying to build the portfolio. Talk a little bit about your day to day in RPM and how people looking at the Phoenix Market can find you and what to expect.

 

Riana King: So, my main role is working with owners who are looking at our market and possibly looking at hiring our company currently. So I am, on a regular basis, putting different lists together to help pinpoint specific areas that will yield a high return, looking at comparables for properties for people who are looking to purchase, and also I’m talking to people who are accidental landlords, who are maybe being relocated and kind of walking them through the process of onboarding.

And I can be found on Facebook, through our website actually, we have two different websites based off of our markets. But those are the best places to go and get started. We actually even have a quiz that is on there that talks about: how well do you know landlord laws? It’s pretty cool. You can take it and it’ll tell you like, “Hey you’re pretty good.” Or “nope, don’t even try.”

 

John Carney: That sounds like a fun way to let people learn about the rules and regulations in Arizona, but also kind of if they aren’t getting the passing marks, make an easy decision that they probably are in over their head, right?

 

Riana King: Yea, definitely.

 

John Carney: Well cool. When you were growing up did you play any competitive sports? I believe that you learn a lot about team work and you work in a business that has a team in place, so could you just talk a little bit about that experience going back?

 

Riana King: Yea, so I was a cheerleader and I loved it and I loved being part of a group and a team and it really was exciting for me. So that was my sport.

 

John Carney: Harder than it looks on television, right?

 

Riana King: Yea, definitely. It’s not as easy as it looks, for sure.

 

John Carney: I have no rhythm, so I wouldn’t be able to do that. Okay cool, are you are a reader? We’re putting together a pretty significant booklist through this podcast so I ask what our guest’s favorite book is that you’re currently reading that’s generally geared towards either sports or business.

 

Riana King: I actually just finished reading Girl Boss. So it’s a little different from sports or real estate, but I think just the motivation in it was really good to read through, and I love just stories of successful women, it’s encouraging for me. And if you’re listening and I guess if you’re a guy you could read it too, but it’s a good read.

 

John Carney: So is there a quote — I see them on social media, it seems to be that motivational quotes are in quite a few feeds that I follow. Is there a quote that keeps you motivated? Doesn’t have to be something a famous person said, we get plenty of quotes from our friends and family. But is there one that kind of keeps you motivated when the fire is raging at the office?

 

Riana King: Absolutely. So, I heard this quote when I got out of college and it was: “discipline yourself so that others don’t have to.” Which is kind of simple but it kind of lights a fire under you whenever you’re thinking, “Oh, do I really need to get this done today?” Yea you do. Yep, get through it.

 

John Carney: I really like that, and when I go to write the show notes and I plug that in, I wonder if we’ll come up with a source for that, interesting.

 

Riana King: Yea it was just on the back of a business card I picked up somewhere and I actually still have the business card, because I had it taped at my desk for years.

 

John Carney: That’s pretty cool. Alright. Well is there any come from behind victory you can think of lately where — I don’t know — whether it was dealing with a landlord or whether it was dealing with a tenant, that you were able to put your years of experience, effort and focus on and solve the problem for a happy ending?

 

Riana King: You know, I have kind of a funny one. We have a tenant who is in a property, it’s a condo complex, and she kept telling us that she’s having rodent issues, and this is kind of bad, but we get a call — we’ve been dealing with it for a while and it ultimately came down to her responsibility, and she kept saying it’s the HOAs. Well we get a call from the HOA and she sent a dead rat to the HOAs office. So we, as a team collectively, have dealt with her and soon she will successfully be exiting our rental property and no dead rats were sent to our office.

 

John Carney: No dead rats sent to your office. And potentially no rodent problem, correct?

 

Riana King: Oh yes, definitely no rodent problem. Because after that the HOA decided they were going to help her out. It’s just kind of some of those odd stories that you hear about and it’s like, is this real? Yes those are some of the fires that we get to put out on a regular basis.

.

John Carney: Never a dull moment. Well thanks again for joining us today in the locker room Riana. I know that you mentioned that we can find you at the RPM website and you’re on social media, and if you’re happy we’ll post those links in the show notes so that our listeners who want to carry on the conversation with you to potentially learn a little bit more about property management advice, or have you look after their investment properties in either Phoenix or Tucson, will be able to track you down.

So there you have it folks. I truly hope that you picked up some actionable advice today from Riana King.

Make sure to check out the Real Estate Locker Room Show on iTunes, Stitcher or Google Play and hit that subscribe button to ensure that you never miss out on the pro tips from our guests. The mission here is to help you elevate your real estate game. So if you like what the real estate locker room show is all about, I’d be super grateful if you would leave us a five-star review on iTunes or your preferred podcast platform so that other like-minded real estate investors and professionals are able to easily find us when they type in ‘real estate’ on their search.

The post-game report show notes that I just mentioned, and links and additional content related to today’s episode will be available on my website: johncarneyonline.com/podcast.

And if you want to be on my email list, there’ll be a way for you to join that there.

Remember to stay focused on your goals, have fun and stay in the game. Thanks again for taking time out of your busy day Riana, to have a conversation about property management with our audience. Anything else you want to say in closing?

Riana King: No, thanks for having me, and any questions, whether it’s in my market or not, I’m happy to answer for anyone.

John Carney: Awesome, thank you

(Music Out)

End Audio

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© John Carney 2017

 

JC 017: Apartments, Banking and Politics with Michael Gibbons

June 28th, 2017 | no comments

All people want to live in a nice property

Michael Gibbons is a highly respected investment banker with decades of experience successfully owning and operating multi family real estate. Mike is the senior managing director, principal and co-founder of Brown Gibbons Lang and Company (BGL) with offices across the USA and Global M&A Partner offices in more than 40 countries across 5 continents, which allows BGL to deliver their clients unparalleled access to corporations, investors, and opportunities globally.

Michael always had an interest in real estate and started out with a few doubles and a 4-plex. He learned how to install toilets and more importantly what it will take to run a real estate ownership organization effectively. The key is to build up the number of units that you are managing so that you don’t have to personally do all of the work.

Michael and his team are dedicated to providing well-managed, quality multifamily homes. Michael owns an interest in over 10,000 units and lives by the philosophy that each unit must be “good enough for mom to live in.” He believes that everyone deserves to be proud of where they live, and the apartment communities that he owns provide a safe, clean, well-maintained and friendly environment that residents are proud to call home.

Michael’s winning formula is to look out for undermanaged and/or poorly maintained properties and apply a high standard to maintenance and management. You must apply social responsibility to your real estate investments and success will follow.

Michael Gibbons is on a mission to save America. He is entering the political arena and running for a seat in the US Senate representing Ohio. He believes that “the government doesn’t create jobs, business creates jobs.” Michael doesn’t want to be a career politician. He wants to apply his business knowledge in Washington to serve the American people and accelerate the growth of the US economy.

Five key points:

  • Everybody has to start somewhere – Michael entered the business of real estate investing where many entrepreneurs start, buying single-family properties and working from the ground up to restore and resell them. The small details that Michael learned during his early days set him up for success in the future.
  • “If the unit isn’t ready for your mother to move into, it’s not ready to rent to someone else.” – people want to be proud of where they live. This applies to all income levels. BGL looks for undermanaged or poorly maintained properties and applies defined management strategies to improve the situation, providing people with a safe, clean, well-maintained place to live, somewhere they can be proud to bring their friends and parents to visit.
  • Find tenants that fulfill their side of their contractual obligations – always pay their rent in full and on time. It is dangerous territory for landlords to get into situations where they allow tenants to stay without paying rent for any period of time. This practice can quickly lead an investor to defaulting on mortgages. Retain high credit standards, source tenants that have pride in themselves and their property and they will in turn take pride and care for your property.
  • Utilize modern technology – install video cameras in your multi family investments. “We have found that with the technology that’s available now, if we put up camera systems, generally people behave properly if they’re always on camera in common areas.”
  • Every person involved in real estate is important – from the person fixing the electrical faults to the person vacuuming the hallways, insure that you have a team with the correct cultural fit and chemistry. Success comes when the work is fun and you’re surrounded by other people that “find it fun” and are also willing to put in the hard

Mike is a three-sport college athlete. These are his top three favorite athletes;

  1. Jean Gibbons – Michael father, world class athlete, wrestler & coach
  2.  Aaron Shea – former NFL player and Mike’s son-in-law
  3.  Tom Brady – NFL quarterback for the New England Patriots and godfather to Mike’s grandson.

Favorite books:

  1. God’s Gold: The Story of Rockefeller and His Times by John T Flynn
  2. The Constitution of Liberty by Friedrich A Hayek

You can reach out to Michael at BLG, http://www.bglco.com

For more information about Michael Gibbons US Senate campaign visit –http://www.gibbonsforohio.com

Thank you Michael for taking some time out to share your story with us.

Listen to all the episodes of The Real Estate Locker Room Show and sign up for my FREE monthly newsletter at http://www.johncarneyonlie.com

POST GAME REPORT: Episode Transcript

JC 017: Apartments, Banking & Politics with Mike Gibbons

Michael Gibbons is on a mission to save America

Announcer: Welcome to the, “Real Estate Locker Room Show” with John Carney. Did you know investing in real estate is a team sport? Join John and his guests as they explore the business of real estate and athletic competition. The goal for this show is to grant you direct access to the real estate pros that are closing profitable deals and growing their businesses. On the “Real Estate Locker Room Show” we are getting in the ring with successful investors, developers, operators, and all of the industry professionals to learn what it takes to achieve on-going success. Now it’s time to kick-off and level up with new ways to grow your real estate business.

 

John Carney: Welcome back to the Real Estate Locker Room Show. I’m your host John Carney, coming at you again today from Cleveland, Ohio. The goal for this show is to help the listeners raise the bar in their real estate investment game. Joining me today is a great guest, he is a mover and a shaker in the multi family world of real estate, specifically here in Northeast Ohio and I will let him talk to you about his formula for success in just a moment.

 

But I’d like to welcome Michael Gibbons. He is the senior managing director, principal and founder of Brown Gibbons Lang and Company. Michael provides an active senior role to client engagements and business development opportunities. Now Brown Gibbons Lang and Company, or BGL, is a leading independent investment bank serving the middle market. BGL specializes in merger and acquisitions, advisory services, debt and equity placement, financial restructuring advice and valuations and financial opinions. With global industry teams in business services, consumer, health care, industrial and real estate, BGL has offices in Chicago, here in Cleveland, Ohio, Salt Lake City and global MNA partner offices in more than 40 countries across five continents, which allows them to deliver unparalleled access to corporations, investors and opportunities globally.

So, we’re going to learn a little bit from Mike about when you scale up a business like BGL, and you get into real estate, you can certainly apply those business skills in that competitive environment of high finance to apartments.

Now, immediately prior to BGL, Michael was president and CEO of Underwood Newhouse and Company, a leading regional securities and investment banking firm in Houston, Texas. And prior to that he was senior vice president for McDonald and Company here in Cleveland. And recently, Mr. Gibbons has announced that he will be running for a spot in the US Senate right here, for a seat in northeast Ohio as well.

Welcome to the show Mike, thank you for taking the time out of your very busy schedule to share your experience with our listeners.

 

Mike Gibbons: Well I’m glad to talk to you John. I want to make one correction though, we’re no longer in Salt Lake City; we’re in Irvine, California, San Antonio and Philadelphia. And that was a brief stint in Utah where we were unable to really make it work there. And it’s kind of an organic process that you go through and as you staff various locations with various skills you take advantage of that, and we’re doing that.

 

John Carney: Your resume is extensive. We want to drill into the real estate, and we talk a little bit about sports, we call it The Real Estate Locker Room Show basically because there’s just as fierce a competition out there in the real estate market day in and day out, probably the same in the MNA market day in and day out as you would see in the super bowl, correct?

 

Mike Gibbons: Well, it’s a very competitive business. I was warned many times before I started it that the likelihood of success, particularly out of Cleveland — and that’s where I wanted a family, and really commuted to Houston for four years, in a very tough environment in Houston, and came to Cleveland and said, “You know, I can’t go back to where I was,” just wasn’t the right thing for me to do, and started BGL.

I had an early setback, far greater setback for my partner, as is noted in the name of the company Brown Gibbons Lang — well Kevin Brown was a wealthy entrepreneur and had a bit of wealth from an inheritance. We had become friends and we were going to set out, with his capital support and my deal skills I developed, and form a company. Unfortunately, Kevin was killed a month and a half after we started the firm in an offshore powerboat race. Actually, the Trump race in Atlantic City. I and a number of my friends were there to watch him and he came into the restaurant where we were sitting — and actually we were playing Blackjack. First time I was ever in a casino in my life. — And he said, “Go home guys it’s too choppy.” By the time we got home, sat around for an hour or two with my family, and we got a call from one of my friends and said Kevin had been killed in the race that he wasn’t supposed to run.

And it was an unfortunate occurrence, but it created the true entrepreneurial situation where I was left with basically my capital, which was relatively insignificant at the time, and a telephone. And that’s where we started. So it’s all worked out, and it shows you what you can do in America if you just set your mind to it. I’ve been very fortunate to have the opportunities I had, and we tried to make the best of it.

 

John Carney: So just can you just tell a brief — talk about how you went from investment banking and how you stumbled into real estate and what that looked like?

 

Mike Gibbons: Well it really wasn’t a stumble, John. I was very interested in real estate, literally from the day I got out of graduate school. I remember I read a book called No Money Down. Since I didn’t have any money, that was an important part of where it started from. And I began acquiring with very little down payment money, had a real estate license and used my real estate license. And the commissions I’d receive on the acquisition side helped acquire various things and would buy some double houses and eventually a four-suiter.

None of those were very successful but I learned a lot. Not only did I learn how to install toilets efficiently, but I understood what it would take to really run a real estate ownership organization effectively. And the key is to building the number of units that you’re managing to where you don’t have to do all the work. Because if you try to do all the work, you’re very limited in the scope of what you can know. And I started out that way, sold those off as I was advancing in my career. But again, I always had that interest and attraction to real estate.

I was in capital markets in the financing business, advising businesses, and I was always attracted by the relative certainty of the cash flows versus the various business I was working in. And I never really had any engineering training or I really didn’t understand how manufacturing worked early on. And obviously, I’ve been in probably one of every kind of manufacturer in the nation and got to learn about their processes and how they operated over the many years I’ve been in the business. But during that period I always had an attraction to real estate. And indeed I was part of a partnership in a regional investment bank where they permitted you to make investments outside the normal scope of everyday business. And I got a couple of partners and one of them ran the real estate. And at one point we got up to a relatively significant number of multi family units that we’d owned jointly. I owned a relatively small percentage of them, of the whole enterprise. But again, expanded my knowledge just from being around and looking at properties, buying properties, financing properties.

And then as my career progressed I found myself working with real estate enterprises. And I was always — my early days were public finance, I was using tax exempt debt to do financing for various enterprises. And at that point in time, under the tax laws in the United States where you created an increase to employment you could use tax exempt financing. And the firm I was with, McDonald and Company, was a very significant underwriter of that kind of capital back in that period.

So I just learned more about the financing markets, the mathematics of financing. And ultimately kind of left public finance and moved into more financial institutes in bank, corporate finance type activities; took converted mutuals to stock, in smaller institutions and worked with REITs – a few of them that worked back in those days. And then when I went to Houston, which was supposed to be a two-year stint that turned into a four-year stint, I did it largely because McDonald and Company had gone public. They didn’t have the same cultural fit that I had felt so comfortable in while it was a partnership, and really sought that kind of partnership structure where I could own a piece and help build a company, help build something that I own.

So in doing the thing in Houston I was already — I still had my real estate partners up in northeast Ohio; we were still acquiring and improving and selling multi family during that period of time. And when I came back to Cleveland and formed BGL I was all about MNA for 20 plus years.

And right around when the crash came, actually maybe a little bit previous to that, I had consented to doing a development deal while still at BGL. It was a multi family with an older gentleman that I had established a great friendship with. I did that, saw the deficiencies in the way that they were then managing the properties, and ultimately wanted to create an organization that I could use BGL and investment bank as a platform and create an organization where we had very fine management, and kind of fit my philosophy of investing in multi family. And we’ve done that now for seven or eight years, and we’ve achieved some pretty good milestones in that period.

 

John Carney: So yea, hardly a stumble in. That’s a correction without understanding the whole story, for sure. But so, I suppose the important take away I got from hearing the whole timeline was you started out with single family homes, a few duplexes, probably spent some evenings there applying paint and fixing plumbing without a license–

 

Mike Gibbons: Many, many.

 

John Carney: — so that your tenants could move in the next day. And that is a familiar story with just about every single real estate investor I’ve interviewed to date.

 

Mike Gibbons: You’ve got to start somewhere, you know?

 

John Carney: You have to start somewhere. And then what does that look like today? And where —

 

Mike Gibbons: Well, in a week — I don’t own 100% of very many things, I have a few I own 100% of, as far as real estate dwellings. But generally we’re operating in LLCs, oftentimes it’s the partners in the investment banking business, at times we’ll take in outside investors.

And I didn’t mention this, but early in the days of Brown Gibbons Lang, having been in Cleveland, I knew a lot of the developers in the region, largely stemming from my public finance days as a matter of fact. And I was in a very good position to — down a number of REITs formations, and we took them public while I was in Houston. And the real estate investment trust business changed considerably in the early ‘90s. Prior to that, you needed a separate enterprise to manage those businesses, or to manage the real estate homes that were owned by the trust. It was a very unwieldy, difficult structure to operate in and all that changed in the early ‘90s. And because of my relationship with some of those developers, because I had as much familiarity with REIT structures as anybody probably in the Midwest at the time — I wasn’t an attorney and didn’t work in those areas, I was really an investment banker that had worked with the formation of REITs –I was called on to use some of the expertise I’d developed to advise a number of REITs and their formation, and actually model those enterprises for largely a collection of partnerships; model those pre-excel. I was using Lotus123 back in those days. And created those models and took them to Wall Street, found an underwriting team and we took a number of REITs public where I acted as the advisor, BGL acted as advisor.

Around northeastern Ohio it was Associated States and Developers Diversified, both of those were enterprises that I advised on their formation. I ended up on the board of Associated States after about ten years, became an active board member, shared financial planning and really kind of studied where real estate performance was. Being in the Midwest, it’s very much different than if you’re in the coast or in you’re in the hot growth areas. We have a housing stock here that’s a bit older than most other locations, and I was always tied to Ohio and tied to Cleveland, this is where I love to live. I had spent four years commuting, coming back here every weekend almost. Coached my daughter’s soccer team, I was an assistant coach while I was working in Houston, so I was always connected to northeastern Ohio. So the natural place to invest was northeast Ohio. But the housing stock in a city like Cleveland or around Cleveland is very much different than you’ll see on the coast or in Florida or in Atlanta or in Dallas.

Having been on the border of public multi family REIT, I kind of studied what the differences were and where I thought I could make a difference and also do well for my investors if I had them. And kind of developed a plan. And generally we’ve stuck with working class housing, is what it’s called now. I think we were lucky enough to identify that earlier in the trend, and it’s now become a topic of conferences to talk about work force housing.

And I just have a philosophy about people and about where they want to live and how they feel about living in a certain situation. And I took that philosophy and applied it to my real estate investment. I believe that every single person in the United States wants to be proud of where they live, and they want their friends and family to come over and visit them and not be embarrassed of the maintenance levels of the property that they’re living in. They want to walk through a lobby that looks like they’re prosperous and they’re living in a well maintained, well managed facility. And I think that’s true across all income levels. I don’t think it’s any different, no matter if you’re struggling in a lower wage job to you’re a wealthy person that just doesn’t want to have any duties of home ownership. And I think every level of those you can do more and more, commensurate with the level of rents and the level of profitably.

So what we look for are properties that are undermanaged or poorly maintained, and our effort is to find those, buy those cost effectively and manage them in the way I just talked about. We have a rule with our management operation: if that unit isn’t ready for your mother to move into it’s not ready to rent to somebody else. And I think a lot of businesses say they have a social responsibility too, and I think anybody that’s operating in America in business should have a feeling of social responsibility. And one of those things is I want to make our tenants lives a little better, because we do the things that need to be done when they need to be done and provide with them with a safe, clean, well maintained place to live. And some place they can be proud to bring their parents or their friends and feel comfortable going in and bringing them there into their apartment. And I think that’s a solution that’s worked for us very well.

 

John Carney: So would you say your approach and your philosophy has to be in some respect a point of difference; do you see a dramatic change when you buy a property that’s under managed and in need of repair. And can you just talk about the turnaround that you see with existing tenants. And then how that would compare to someone across the street or next door that just doesn’t have that same attitude about providing an environment that you’d want your own mum to live in.

 

Mike Gibbons: Well, you know, it doesn’t happen immediately. I think you have to convince the tenants that live there that you’re different, and it takes a while to do that, you can’t just come in — we typically don’t come in with a total rehabilitation of the project, because in many cases we just can’t afford to do that.

One of the advantages of investing in workforce housing — and I might add, not everything we have is workforce, we have some higher end properties but we don’t really have the low-income properties. We don’t have any units that would be considered low income. It’s people that work; they may not make professional level salaries, but they certainly are hardworking and they have pride in themselves. And generally you want tenants to have pride in themselves because they are going to have pride in the property that they’re living in, and they’re not going to do damage or dump litter, or they’re going to keep the place clean and not fight the management company.

Oftentimes when you see these undermanaged properties, they’re just not well managed in a number of ways. If you don’t pay your rent, and you have tenants that don’t pay their rent on time — unfortunately we’re not the government where we’re responsible for making sure that everybody has their rent payment every month. So we have very high credit standards and the reality is, is I wish I was in a position to give everybody free rent. If I was in that position it would be a wonderful thing. I try to contribute a significant portion of my income to help those kinds of people, but you can’t do that and have a business. So unfortunately, you’ve got to have people who pay their rent on time. The minute you start allowing people to live there while they aren’t paying rent — I’ve seen a lot of property owners make that mistake; so they’ll try to negotiate with the tenants and they end up defaulting on their mortgage. And you wouldn’t be interviewing me right now if I’d defaulted on a number of mortgages over a period of time. And when a relatively small percentage of your tenants aren’t paying rent you can find yourself in that position.

I’ve never defaulted on a mortgage and I don’t intend to, and the only way to be certain that that isn’t going to happen is to make sure you get cash flow under the contractual arrangement that you have with those tenants. And it’s a win/win situation: we’re going to keep the property up in good condition if they just meet the terms of their contract, which is paying their rent on time.

And oftentimes we’ll move into a turnaround situation, under managed situation, sometimes even over managed situation, where they have a few other different characteristics we can get into. But that undermanaged situation, generally they’re letting people slide by, and you’ll end up with the tenants owing multiple months’ rent, that’s a recipe for disaster. That’s when you talk about the decline of areas and properties, that’s what usually leads to it.

Everybody talks about the terrible slum landlords, well in many cases they are terrible, but oftentimes it starts where they just don’t get their rent payments. And most if not all of these projects are leveraged and they need to make mortgage payments, and if they aren’t collecting their rent they can’t make those mortgage payments. You’ve got to have a discipline about making sure people pay rent on time.

We’ve also had very good luck, where we’ll find a property that’s in disrepair and has been neglected as far as the management, or maybe the right management techniques haven’t been used and they’ll have problem tenants. You’ll have tenants that are selling drugs, or they’ll be having gatherings in front of the building and will harass other tenants as they come out. We have found that with the technology that’s available now, if we put up camera systems, generally people behave properly if they’re always on camera in the common areas. When somebody breaks a window we know who broke it. When somebody steals furniture from the lobby, we know who stole it. When somebody comes in and commits a crime on the property we can generally trace when they come in and when they leave. So we had very good luck of just getting better behaved people living in our properties. Because all people want to live in a nice property that is well maintained, and if you allow people that don’t care about that to move in you’re not going to be able to do that.

So that’s one of our initial steps, is to spend the money on camera systems, spend the money on common areas; just the general condition of the property, the street appeal of the property is very important. People want to see landscaping and green grass and nicely maintained shrubbery and lighting and everything should be well lit. You cannot have a full-time security force, it doesn’t work at the level of rents that we run at. But we’ll have — particularly when we’re turning a building around, we’ll intensify security to a certain level and if somebody is on site that’s causing a problem, generally we can have security there in pretty short order.

 

John Carney: Well, that’s basically a long — for the listeners that are out there that want to be in the multi family game, or anyone who’s struggling managing their own multi family, take note of what advice Mike has given us. Because that’s generally, I would imagine, almost a weekend course in property management and multi family all wrapped into a ten-minute segment, so thank you for that.

 

Mike Gibbons: I’m happy to do it.

 

John Carney: That’s great advice, well we wrap this up with a few questions that we end up posting up on the show notes. But when you were growing up as a kid, you were also a college athlete, what sports were you into? And how did you see that team sport aspect of your childhood translate into success in business?

 

Mike Gibbons: Well, you know, I guess I didn’t appreciate how much participating in team sports — and some individual sports too — how much they helped. But I think it’s just a general attitude of being able to get along and work with people, where you have a particular function, they have a particular function, and when everybody’s doing what they’re supposed to do at the same time, things work a lot better. It’s that simple.

I played high school football and I wrestled. My father was actually a wrestling coach, I never quite achieved the level of capability that he would have wished. And I think he would have been a lot happier with me if I’d found wrestling to be my sport. But he was a great athlete, an all American national champion, and I just was never going to be that. And I also participated in track. And when I went to college, I really decided I wasn’t headed to the NFL, and although I had some looks by division one teams, I thought I was better suited — and again I wanted to stay around Ohio. The only D3 school I looked at transferring into, I waited so long to make my decision they’d already agreed to go to a school out of state. And ended up at a D3 school and was able to compete in three different sports while I was there and still go to class and maintain good grades. It was a great experience for me.

I played lacrosse and football in college. And the four years of football, and trying to compete in Ohio in football in a heavily academic school, where it was tough to get a lot of players to help this into the school. We were able to field a pretty good team. And a lot of those guys are still my friends and in each case they’ve all been successful — or I think all of them, I can’t think of any that haven’t been — but they’ve all been successful in whatever profession they decided to go in, and we often get together. We had an undefeated team in the college I went to, that was an unusual thing to have, it was the only one in the history of the school. And every one of those guys — we talk about how the coaches put us together and got us working together. We were always not as deep as the teams we were playing, as long as we didn’t have a lot of injuries we were going to do pretty well. We had people knew their roles and fulfilled them.

And it’s the same thing in real estate. It’s the same thing in investment banking. You have a job to do and you’ve got to do it as well as everybody else does their job, and it’s particularly important in real estate. You’re relying on the guys that vacuum the hallways as much as you’re relying on the people that are fixing the electrical problems or the plumbing, it’s all got to work together. And that kind of team atmosphere is the best situation you can create. And we have that right now and it’s not always that easy to achieve, you’ve got to have the right chemistry among people. But we’ve done it and it’s worked out very well.

So we’ve grown, and we’re one of the larger property owners in northeastern Ohio, and we intend to continue to grow in that area. I’ve got a couple of sons that seem interested in real estate, all of them are still in school, heading to law school and business school, but I think they’ve seen the fun I’ve had with it and the interest I’ve had in it, and I’m hoping one of those guys decides they want to follow and keep this effort going in the family. Like you’re doing John. Your family’s been in real estate for generations. I’m the first generation in mine.

 

John Carney: Right, and that’s just it though. It is fun. And I think it’s fun because it’s challenging, and it’s hard work and you get to surround yourself by other people that find it fun, challenging and are willing to put in the hard work. Three rapid fire questions before I let you go. We’re compiling a bit of a list. Who’s your favorite athlete – all-time?

 

Mike Gibbons: Well, it’s funny, because I actually know him, and this probably isn’t going to be a popular choice in Ohio. But my son-in-law, married to my daughter, played for Cleveland Browns, and so obviously, he’s probably my favorite athlete along with my father. My father was a world class athlete, just happened to be in wrestling. But my grandson’s godfather is a guy named Tom Brady. I’ve gotten to know Tom a little bit, and I’d consider him one of the — a guy with one of the finest characters — if you’re a Cleveland Browns fan, you only see this guy that comes in and destroys our team when he’s in here. I’ve gotten to know him personally and he’s kind of just a really great person. As is my son in law, as is my father.

So I guess I’ve got three of them. I would say: my dad, Jean Gibbons, and my son-in-law, Aaron Shay, and his big buddy Tom Brady. And I know each of those people pretty well, and it’s great seeing somebody in competition. Aaron’s not playing anymore, my father’s passed away, but I’ve heard the stories many times about how he competed and how good he was at what he did. And we can still watch Tom, usually in the super bowl every year. And for how much the fans of the opposing team seem to hate him, he’s really a great person and he’s a regular guy that just works harder than most everybody else.

 

John Carney: Yea, he works hard and he’s a leader. So I mean, two key ingredients to become a multi super bowl champion. Is there a favorite book that you have? We’re putting together a booklist out of this show.

 

Mike Gibbons: It probably is — I often say that there’s been a lot of books that have kind of shaped my — where I’ve ended up in life. When I was in 8th grade I read a book called God’s Gold about John D Rockefeller. I lived in a family that didn’t have a lot of extra dollars floating around the house, and I kind of set off to try to change my family’s trajectory, and I think I’ve done that to some degree.

But I can tell you what changed my whole attitude about politics. In college I majored in political science and economics, and just as most other college students, I didn’t read everything as carefully as I should have the first time I was asked to read it, but it’s become kind of a hobby for me over the last 20 odd years.

But a book called The Constitution of Liberty by Friedrich von Hayek, changed my world view. My grandfather was a labor union president, my dad, who was not really about in politics, pretended to be a democrat early on. I had a grandfather that was probably even to the left of that, my mother’s father. And I didn’t really form a political view really until after I was in college and got out of college. And I have to tell you, Friedrich von Hayek influenced me. It was a rational argument that really kind of convinced me that free markets and capitalism could change the world. It has, it’s taken more people out of poverty than any other system of economics in world history and that book changed my view.

I don’t read a lot of fiction, I read a lot of non-fiction and as my best friend says, “You read the weirdest stuff I’ve ever seen Mike.” But I think I’m curious, and I read a lot of things that aren’t best sellers. And it’s given me a great base of completely irrelevant and unimportant facts that I can talk about at length, and if you aren’t interested in that sort of thing I’ve got to be pretty boring. But it’s probably the book that changed my life.

 

John Carney: That’s good. And we’ll link that in the show notes on our website. Well we’ve run a little bit over. If you have a couple of minutes would you like to share your thoughts on your decision to enter into a big political campaign?

 

Mike Gibbons: Yea, and it took a long time and it was a decision that was very difficult to make. And I’ve said this many times, but I wish I could have found somebody with similar world experiences than me that would have been willing to run. My last son graduated from college a month ago, not even a month ago. My commitment to my children has changed as they grow up. I’ve got more time. I’ve got a son that graduated from Georgia Tech with honors in aerospace engineering, which if you know anything about Georgia Tech and having a degree in that field, he had great job prospects, and he went down and joined the navy and is in Pensacola now in flight training. And I think the combination of that and kind of having my last child graduate from college — I don’t need to focus on my kids as much as I used to. It got me thinking. And he’s adamant about wanting to help his country and defend his country, and I came to the realization that I’ve never really tried to do anything for my country directly. I’ve created hundreds of jobs over the years, and I’ve taken the risks necessary to create those, but I’ve never really given back to this country the way it’s given to me. And I’ve had — there’s been some opportunities, taken advantage of it that I hope everybody can have that same opportunity.

And I don’t like the direction our country is headed. I don’t like the politicians that we’re electing to office. I think we have too many career politicians who really have no experience and they’re very good at winning elections and raising funds to win elections but they really don’t have any day to day knowledge of what it takes to make this country thrive.

 

The government doesn’t create jobs, business creates jobs. And being a business man who recognizes his own capabilities and is not just out for some kind of an ego trip, that really wants to ensure that our governments can use the principles that made our country as great as it is, and not forego those and pick up on the latest ism that’s out there, the latest cause that somebody comes up with. And really kind of keeps the country directed where it’s — in a direction that’s gotten us where we are right now. And I’m going to try and do that. I promised my wife and my kids I wouldn’t change one iota. I tend to be blunt, and I don’t — I’m not a political soundbite guy. And I want to take that kind of an attitude. I’m going to try to get to Washington and actually tell the truth.

Because this country is in a very serious predicament right now: we’ve got national debt 105% of our GNP. The only time it’s ever been greater than that was after we fought a world war. And the difference is the end of that world war we hit 50% of the industrial capacity of the world. We don’t have that anymore. We have got to grow this country. If we don’t grow 3 or 4 percent over the next many years we’re in serious trouble. We’ve got to address that and there’s ways to address that that our politicians just don’t want to talk about. And they may have the soundbites, they really haven’t developed an argument and understand why we have to do that. Because right now we have enough debt that we’re either going to have to default on it, or we’re going to have to grow the country so that becomes a less significant portion of the GNP, that debt. Or we’re going to have to inflate our way out of it. And the very people that won’t allow this country to grow are the ones — the people that they’re claiming they’re protecting and representing. And they’re going to be the ones that are most hurt in that inflationary environment, if that’s what we end up doing.

 

But we’ve got to grow the country. I think I know how to do that. I think I know how businesses are formed. I think I know what stands in the way of their prospering. And I think our government has to ease off on those businesses. I think we have to lower tax rates for businesses and get people to create jobs and make sure that those lower tax rates are tied to people that are really taking risks of job formation. And if we do that, we can super charge this economy and we won’t head down the path that so many countries have that have tried this kind of foray into socialism. It doesn’t work. It hasn’t worked, ever. And they keep saying, “Oh well if we do it right..” There is no right way to do socialism. And even if you want equality in a country, you’re not going to have freedom. And I think that freedom and the fact that everybody gets a shot at opportunity here is what we need to make sure it continues in the future. I’m going to try and do that. And that’s really why I’m doing it.

I’m not a career politician, never thought about it before. If I could have found somebody better to run, I would have certainly supported them and would rather help them in their quest for office. But I can’t find anybody because they aren’t willing to take the considerable risk that comes along with running for office. And I just said –you know, they can make up stories, or they can come up with something they somehow will twist in my background that will make — try to make me look unacceptable to the voters, but I’m willing to take that shot. I think I’ve never done anything unethical in my business career and I’m proud of that, and I’m willing to take anything they can come up with because it won’t be true. So, long story short, I’m doing it because I can’t find anybody else that has my experiences to run and to support. So I’m going to do it myself. I’m the one that complains, I might as well take a shot. That’s what it comes down to John.

 

John Carney: There you go. That’s the American story. I wish you nothing but luck in your race for the US senate Mike. Alright, well that wraps it up. Thank you for joining me in the locker room today Mike. Where can the audience find more about you if they want to reach out or contact you online?

 

Mike Gibbons: Sure. Well I’ll give you our firm website is: bglco.com and we’ve got a good bit of information on there. We’ve been around for 28 years, just found out that we are among the top five most recognizable names in middle market investment banking in the United States. I’m very proud of that. They said it couldn’t be done in Cleveland; we managed to put it together and do it. And then my website for my campaign is: gibbonsforohio.com

And we’ve only been at this a couple of weeks, so positions aren’t filled out, but there’s a video on there that will pretty much summarize what I’m about. And I hope the listeners watch that because it’s — I want to be that new politician that our founders envisioned and not the career politician that unfortunately we’re forced to vote for now. We really have no choice because those are the only people that are running.

 

John Carney: Get in, get the change going, and then hand it over to the next generation. There you have it folks, I am sure that you picked up some actionable advice today from Mr. Michael Gibbons. Make sure to check out the Real Estate Locker Room Show on iTunes, Stitcher, or Google Play and hit that subscribe button to ensure that you never miss out on the pro tips from our great guests. The post-game report show notes, links and additional content for this episode will be available on my website: johncarneyonline.com/podcast when this episode is live next week. And while you’re visiting the website, feel free to drop your email address into the newsletter sign up form to receive even more real estate investing insights, tips, tricks, hacks and other good stuff. Remember to stay focused on your goals, have fun and stay in the game. I’m your host John Carney and until next week: work hard, play hard, and profit hard.

One more time, thank you very much Mr. Gibbons, for taking the time out of your busy schedule and your campaign to join us. Have a great day.

(Music Out)

End Audio

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JC 016: Lessons from selling 42,000 units with Daniel Burkons

June 21st, 2017 | no comments

Multifamily success begins with a strong team

How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Dan Burkons joins us in the locker room today to share his story of success as multifamily sales agent. Dan’s kicked off his career by listing and selling 14 units in East Cleveland 15 years ago. Today he’s closing $58 Million dollar deals. Everyone starts small and grows bigger by working hard over time.

Dan has worked with clients who started with one small deal, quit their day jobs and scaled to 10,000 doors. He believes that having sold management in place is a critical component of success. Pairing a profitable operating and management system with private equity is required to successfully scale.

Something will always go wrong closing a commercial deal. Find out who is creating the roadblock and what their motivation is. You will overcome the obstacle by drilling down into the problem, identifying the root person raising the objection and getting to the decision maker to find a way to solve the issue.

Ice hockey taught Dan that hard work is fun if you like the people who you are doing it with. He attributes his success in business to working hard with people he enjoys working with.

5 Key Points:

  • Have a management plan first.
  • Bad management will sink a great deal.
  • When entering a new market you have to find the right multifamily agent who is active in the product type you want to purchase.
  • You want a local real estate attorney on your team who’s an expert in your niche in the market.
  • Hard work is fun when you like the people on your team.

Favorite athlete: Matthew Dellavedova – Australian born NBA player

Favorite book: How Wall Street Created a Nation: J.P. Morgan, Teddy Roosevelt, and the Panama Canal by Ovidio Diaz Espino

Favorite quote: “If it were easy, everyone would do it”

Thank you Dan for taking time out of your busy day to share your story with us.

Dan’s office phone is 216 264 2018 or email – Daniel.Burkons@marcusmillichap.com

Website – http://www.marcusmillichap.com 

Listen to all the episodes of The Real Estate Locker Room Show and sign up for my FREE monthly newsletter at http://www.johncarneyonlie.com

POST GAME REPORT: Episode Transcript

JC 016: Lessons from selling 42,000 units with Daniel Burkons

Multifamily success begins with a strong team 

Announcer: Welcome to the, “Real Estate Locker Room Show” with John Carney. Did you know investing in real estate is a team sport? Join John and his guests as they explore the business of real estate and athletic competition. The goal for this show is to grant you direct access to the real estate pros that are closing profitable deals and growing their businesses. On the “Real Estate Locker Room Show” we are getting in the ring with successful investors, developers, operators, and all of the industry professionals to learn what it takes to achieve on-going success. Now it’s time to kick-off and level up with new ways to grow your real estate business.

 

John Carney: Welcome back to the Real Estate Locker Room Show. I’m your host John Carney, coming at you again today from Cleveland Ohio. I’m here on the sunny west side and joining me today is mister Dan Burkons, and he is on the south side, correct?

 

Dan Burkons: I am, Independence.

 

John Carney: Alright, perfect. This is going to be a great episode today. We are talking to one of the regions’ premiere experts on multi-family investing. Dan is a broker and he is a senior director of Institutional Property Advisors, or IPA, which is a division of Marcus and Millichap. And he’s one of the three original founders of the Marcus and Millichap Cleveland Office.

His leadership and specialization within the Midwest department market enables him to create substantial value for major private and institutional investors. Dan joined the firm in 2003 and he and his team are approaching 42,000 units sold across 14 states, totaling over 1.8 billion. Impressive stats there. Dan’s expertise is in assessing value and leading national marketing campaigns, selling apartment portfolios ranging from to as many as 25 properties in multiple states, owned by multiple partnerships.

In 2013 Dan received Crane’s Cleveland Business Forty under Forty award and in 2012 he was induced into the Midwest Commercial Real Estate Hall of Fame. No stranger to the media, he’s regularly featured in publications such as: Apartment Finance today; Globe Street; Heartland Real Estate Business; Midwest Real Estate News; Multi Family Executive; Multi Housing News; The Cleveland Plain Dealer; and of course, Crane’s Cleveland calls him for any information they need from an expert regarding the multi family. Alright Dan, welcome to the show. Thank you for taking the time to share your expertise with the audience.

 

Dan Burkons: Well thanks John, thank you for that nice introduction. It’s all flattering but I still think of myself as doing the same thing I’ve been doing for 15 years of selling apartment buildings.

 

John Carney: Right, and you’re good at it. So that’s okay to be good at stuff. 42,000 units sold, everyone starts with one. We’ll get to that in a minute. So, I like to kick off this show with a little bit of a stretching question to get everyone warmed up here, and I generally ask our guests: what sports did you play growing up and who was your favorite athlete?

 

Dan Burkons: Well I would say — so hockey is the sport that I played the most growing up, and I still play. In fact, I skated last night, had some beers and that’s actually — to me, I’m not the world’s greatest hockey player but I like it and got great friends through it, and that’s what I do for exercise more fun than the treadmill.

If you asked my favorite athlete, I actually was just thinking about that as you said — I know you have a lot of Australians followers and I tell you one of my favorite athletes, nothing to do with hockey, is Matthew Dellavedova, Australian guy that came to the Cavs and was a real part of a couple of those runs to the finals. And he’s my favorite athlete because, like me, he doesn’t have the greatest natural talent but I envy his work ethic. The guy shut down Steph Curry, weekend VP in a couple games 2015 and went straight from the basketball court at Quicken Loans arena to Cleveland Clinic because he was almost dead of exhaustion, to get IV fluids to come back the next day. That’s a guy I admire.

 

John Carney: Yea, maybe we should have kept him around to shut them down again this year.

 

Dan Burkons: Right.

 

John Carney: So, I believe that for those of us that like the competitive nature of sports, whether it’s a team sport like ice hockey or an individual sport like golf with your buddies, that business has the same type of competitive nature to it. And so, we draw the comparison between business and sports on this show.

But look, I’ve had clients in the past come to me who want to — when I was living in Australia and working with America Property Source — clients who wanted to get into US multi-family investing. And just like anything, I believe you need to start small and you have to find an expert for your team before you even start small; before you get started you have got to recruit your team. And so finding the right agent with the right experience in the market is critical. Tell us a little bit about your experience over the years, from kind of when you got started to where you are now. You’ve probably seen it all and — share some insight on how do you get started in the multi-family game if you don’t own any apartment buildings or duplexes yet.

 

Dan Burkons: Sure, I’d be happy to, and for myself getting started as a broker it was the same thing; starting really small. My first listing was 14 units in East Cleveland, which for those of you who aren’t familiar with the area is a war zone, it’s the worst of the worst of the worst. That was a $230,000 transaction barely qualifying as commercial real estate. Went from there to — we closed a 58 million dollar deal a couple of weeks ago. So everybody, whether it’s as an owner of a brokerage, starting small — no one is just going to plug you in and you’re not going to be doing 58 million dollar deals. You’ve got to start somewhere, you’ve got to build, you’ve got to build off success.

One of the most rewarding things, and really just the coolest things in my career as a broker is, as I’ve grown from a young adult to — I don’t know what I am now at age 37 — as I’ve grown as a person and I’ve grown in business, I’ve had a sort of symbiotic relationship with several key clients where we’ve grown together. One of them — in fact I mentioned the 58 million dollar deal we just closed — one of them, my second listing at east Cleveland, one was 13 units in another, not much better suburb. And I sold it to this group that was four young guys with full time jobs, and they’ve bought 10 or 20 units. They wanted to buy this thing and they actually ended up — we ended up arranging it with seller financing and I learned a couple of tricks because I didn’t understand what it was at the time. They actually got in with cashback at closing, which isn’t always the best thing but worked for them. And the bank thought they were growing too fast so one of their parents had to cosign for them.

They ended up making a ton of money off that deal, buying another one, buying another one, buying another one, I sold them a lot of it. Then four of the guys that bought that $300,000, no money down transaction in 2013, I’ve actually sold them a 53 million dollar and just recently 58-million-dollar deal. As they grew organically, left their jobs, went into real estate full time, then they hooked up with a private equity shop who gave them the capacity to take down really big deals and portfolios. So it’s an example of somebody who started in commercial real estate part time, built up their management expertise, learnt from some mistakes, took in a little money from local investors and once they’d perfected their craft a little bit, took on little bigger time money and was able to really get into the big deals.

 

John Carney: So when I look at real estate, and you can just pick the asset type, or the class, I mean it really does always boil down to good management: what I believe is the success multiplier. So, could you elaborate on that component, about how these guys were able to grow about over 10 to 15 years, right? They were an overnight success in 15 years, right?

 

Dan Burkons: Right, from zero to ten thousand units. Yea, whether it’s them or anyone else, management really is the key. And I know you have a lot of listeners on here who are earlier on, or some who are just looking to start, or some at obviously more advanced levels, but as far as building that portfolio, management is key. The place where I’ve seen, particularly international or out of state investors come to our markets, and where I’ve seen some fail over the years is not having thought out about a management plan, just looking at the numbers on paper and saying, “Yea, this is a good cap rate, this will work, this meets what I’m looking for.” And a day before closing saying, “Oh, can you recommend a good management company for me?” It sort of should be in the reverse.

You should be — if you’re looking in an area, you should be trying to get comfortable with a management company first, before you really make any serious offers and about to invest your hard-earned money into deals. Because the best deal in the world can get screwed up very, very fast by somebody — whether it’s a dishonest manager or somebody who just doesn’t have the expertise. That is crucial; very small differences in occupancy and rents and expense management can have huge impacts on operating incomes and failures.

 

John Carney: Yea, across the board I suppose, because some management companies make it easy on themselves by keeping the rents low, but there’s all this money being left on the table, right? I’m sure you’ve come across that. That also leaves a big chunk of value for an incoming buyer I suppose.

But, so if you’re coming in from an out of town market — I’m contacted by people often that want to pick my brain about the Cleveland market. The first thing I tell them is that it’s competitive like any market. Can you give us a little bit of the 2017 overview of what Northeast Ohio looks like in multi-family?

 

Dan Burkons: Sure, like any sort of market there’s stratification based on asset class and asset size. And on the larger assets; on the, call it ten million and up, a lot of competition is experienced, national syndication groups. Not so much in northeast Ohio, recent and public companies — it’s for various — are less desired market for that, which actually makes it more profitable for others because those types of public entities often compress cap rates and starve the yield.

So actually it’s more of an opportunistic market, in all sizes from small to big. And in the 500,000 to 5 million range, where we do a lot of business as well, there’s just a mix of local and out of town guys who are coming here — if they’re local, they’re here because they’re already here and they’re looking for the next deal that’s good for them to add to their portfolio. If its someone out of town, they’re usually finding their way to north east Ohio because the cap rates have compressed so much in other parts of the country. Even other parts of the Midwest make Cleveland look like a relative bargain, just because there is — historically there has been a little bit less interest, and quite frankly with the development of Cleveland there should be more, but not everyone has Cleveland on their map, which is good because it leaves the yields a little bit better. You usually get people who are not from the area saying, “Hey, I’m coming to look at properties in Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Indianapolis.” They’re not in love with any one market, they like the idea of getting into the Midwest. A lot of times they’ll come back and say, “Wow, Cleveland, there’s really nice areas and you can buy really stable product, not susceptible to these big swings of up and downs, and look, that’s what I’m coming here for. That’s why I’m not buying in California, I’m buying in the Midwest go get something really stable and those opportunities are here.

 

John Carney: It’s an interesting market. Cleveland has everything that any major city I’ve ever been to globally has, right? We’ve got three brand name sports teams, two stadiums right downtown, you can walk from one to the other and then you’re walking through multiple neighborhoods that have all the foodie and nightlife culture you’d want. Big banks and it’s a pretty homely town.

 

Dan Burkons: And to be honest, I think especially as Cleveland’s downtown has developed — like you and your partners have been an instrumental part of developing Cleveland’s downtown as more of a 24-hour center. as that’s happened more and more young people are saying wow I can really do all the fun 25-year-old stuff in Cleveland that I can do in Chicago or somewhere else and literally pay a third as much and live in a much better place. And as you get older with a family, a lot of my friends have been moving back because jeez I’ve tried to make it in San Francisco and we’re both working and I’ve got no money to pay daycare and this and that. And I go to the pool and there’s 10 billion people. In Cleveland I go anywhere I want, there’s no lines and they have everything. So the quality of life is really good and that’s actually been attracting more and more companies to come back here.

 

John Carney: Yea right so I was gone — I’ve just been back in town for my first year, completed my first year back living on the west side of Cleveland after being away for 19 and last night we took a drive with the kids downtown just for something to do and they had a free concert at Edgewater Park. And traffic on the shore way, which they have converted now into a boulevard and they’ve really spruced up the area and the Metroparks are running the lakefront beach. You know, it was wedged. It was a line of traffic from 25th street to the new Edgewater entrance and then from Lake road and Clifton to the west all the way down. And it was packed. It didn’t look like there was a place to park a car on that whole piece of property. And that’s now kicking off summer with concerts and the beach seems to always be full when I drive by. So they’re really doing a good job there in that Gordon Square and West 25th street neighborhood of utilizing the lake front.

 

Dan Burkons: It’s interesting that some of your audience — I’ll tell you what, we’ve had — that Westside area and Edgewater park west, the higher city area — there are places that even 5 years ago I would have thought of as man that’s kind of rough, sort of being a rundown part of the city. That area on the Westside is just — we’ve had a lot of out of town investors actually buying 10 unit 20 unit, 30 unit type deals there and seeing it as a big opportunity. And because those are some areas that were historically not nice in Cleveland, a lot of local people overlook them and the amount of millennials and highly educated young folks who want to live in those — it’s a little bit more like living in a neighborhood of Chicago or something, a little more edgy area. A lot of the out of towners are getting that faster than the local folks, and buying up stuff that ten years ago would have been worth $15,000 a unit, and they’re buying it for $20,000 a unit, putting $5000 into it and making it worth $40,000 a unit. And there’s opportunities there, and seeing the opportunity and the growth pattern in some of those Westside neighborhoods.

 

John Carney: Yea, I mean it’s fascinating to watch. They grow and continue to flourish. So if you’re coming to Cleveland and you’re looking in multi family, or any market really, obviously the role that you play as a broker agent — talk a little bit about how you work on the buyer’s side for people, and what level of expertise having the right person — there might be someone listening that wants to go to Florida and they don’t know anyone in that market, or they want to go to Texas. What questions should they be asking a guy like you to make sure that they get the right person helping them out?

 

Dan Burkons: I think it’s important that you find somebody who really is active in that specific product type in that area. So there’s a bunch of guys, for instance in Cleveland, who run around saying, “Yea, hey, you want to buy apartment buildings?” They’ve never really done an apartment building, they’ve done one. Our team have sold several hundred in Cleveland. It doesn’t have to be that, but wherever you’re going, Texas, figure out and find out and maybe call around, find out who are the guys who are actually active. If you’re trying to buy 10-30 in a deals in say, San Antonio, before you just grab on to the first guy and spend two years being dragged around by somebody, spend an extra couple of weeks figuring out and maybe interviewing or meeting a couple of people. Say, “I want to see your track record. Not the market, I want you to show me how many deals you’ve done.” It doesn’t have to be a guy who’s sold 400 deals, but a guy who, “Hey look, I’ve closed three deals, I have three on the market, here’s what I know about — I can tell you about.” Somebody who is actually active in that.

Don’t hook up with a guy who sells houses who’s trying to get in — make you his first client to do an apartment deal or a shopping center deal with or whatever it is. You don’t need to be the guinea pig. It’s okay to be with a younger guy, as long as the guy’s focus is actually to be doing some transactions in that niche. Because they’ll understand really quickly the fit. they’ll say, “Hey, you don’t want to waste your time with that deal, the expenses are not underwritten well.” Or “Hey, that’s a really poor rental market you’re not going to get upside.” Somebody who can make a very quick judgement on something.

Look, there’s so much information out there, all of us have limited amount of time to rule out the stuff — there’s a lot of stuff people throw on the market that doesn’t make sense. To someone who can very quickly cut through 50% of them and say, “Throw that in the garbage pile, let’s focus on looking through these other 50% of deals.” You’ll go a long way by hooking up with somebody who is actually plugged into that product type.

 

John Carney: Sound advice. And then, if you’re coming into a new market or just getting started, from your experience –management — let’s circle back to management, how would you go about finding the right group to manage and what advice would you have on how to source someone like that?

 

Dan Burkons: You know, I think if you find that right agent to work with that’s a good place to start. So if someone’s actually doing a lot of transactions in that specific niche, you can ask them, “Hey look, can you recommend three good management companies? What do you think their strengths and weaknesses are? Who might be good for me?” And they may say, “You know what, there’s really only one that’s good for what you’re trying to do.” Or they may say, “Well there’s a few.” That’s a good place to start is to hear from the agent.

You can also — another good thing would be to hook up with a local real estate attorney who is local to that market. Because we have a lot of folks who are from out of state, they are using their out of state attorneys. Every market has its niches and loopholes and laws and the way to do things. You want to find someone who’s experienced, who’s a local real estate attorney to that market, and that guy can, one: help you navigate the intricacies of the purchase agreement and so forth, but also that guy’s also great for a referral service. Both attorneys and brokers are constantly dealing with people who touch every other part of the real estate spectrum, and they say, “Oh no, you know what, I’ve got a few clients that use this guy. He’s a really good manager, he’s local he’s this that. Or stay away from this guy he’s got a great sales pitch on the internet but he actually has no substance.”

 

John Carney: I like what you just said there, because when you look at attorneys, attorneys who fill that niche and are laser focused and have the track record are good people to have on your team. I add an extra layer that you should gel and trust your attorneys on your team, and that’s just a matter of meeting a couple of people. But you know, they have so much insight behind the scenes and they really do connect the dots, don’t they?

 

Dan Burkons: Yea and so again just with like the — it’s important, don’t just find the first guy you find with a picture on a billboard. Try and find out who actually is representing clients, doing real estate deals like yours in that market. Not the guy who is doing $500 divorces and, “No, yea, I do apartments and real estate stuff too.”

 

John Carney: Right, family law and commercial real estate, two things that probably one person can’t do well.

 

Dan Burkons: Right.

 

John Carney: But, I mean, again, when you make a transition, when you’re doing single family homes, you don’t really need a lawyer that much, unless he’s finding you deals through probate or other forms. But so you get this mentality that you don’t want to pay the fees. Absolutely, 100% critical to pay those fees as part of your costs of doing business when you’re on the commercial level, especially in higher dollar value transactions for sure.

Well cool. We’re kind of going to wind down into our two-minute drill here Dan, and so you’re talking about ice hockey, and you grew up playing ice hockey I imagine. What kind of lessons did you learn playing team sports that you bring to the table running your team at your business to help your clients succeed?

 

Dan Burkons: Well, hockey really taught me that hard work can be really fun and can be really motivating if you love the people that you’re with and if you love what you’re doing. So I love to play hockey, even more I love the guys that I met through hockey, lifelong friends at all these different junctures. So hitting the gym or skating or practice or whatever it was, never seemed like work when I was with people I wanted to be with, that I was doing something that I thought was fun. If I wasn’t with people that I wanted to be with, I don’t think I could have ever worked there.

Now the truth is, I’m not the best or have the most god given talent for hockey, probably at the other end of the spectrum. In real estate, it turned out that I do have some of those gifts to build and sell and understand and think quick on the feet and size up buildings. So it turned out I learned from hockey what it’s like to work hard at something you love, and then I found something else that I loved and I actually was good at it too. So that ended up being a good fit for me. And I just learned: hey, hard work is fun if you like who you’re doing it with.

 

John Carney: That’s a good story, thanks for sharing that. And look, do you read? Do you have a favorite book that you keep handy either at your desk or at home? I’m just curious, because we get a lot of — I’m compiling an awesome book list through this show and everyone’s got a different favorite so far.

 

Dan Burkons: I’ll tell you what, I’d love to see the book list when you compile it. Because to be quite honest, it’s been a while since I’ve read a lot of motivating business stuff. I tend to see reading as my escape from business, family, and chill my mind out. And by the way, I don’t read fun stuff like mysteries, I usually read history stuff. So that just takes me to totally different places and I like to decompress, not to think about business. However, I’d like to see some of those business books, because there’s always something new to learn.

 

John Carney: Well look, a lot to learn through history, what’s one of your recent favorites? I’m not going to let you off the hook.

 

Dan Burkons: That’s ok. You know what, I’m almost finished with this book that I found in my father-in-law’s bookshelf the other day. I’ll think of the name in a second. It’s called “How Wall street Created a Nation.” It’s about — it’s kind of a cross of history and business, and it’s about the Panama Canal and Jackie Morgan and a bunch of Wall Street people bought up big shares of the failed Panama Canal. This company from France, and then pushed the US government to more or less instigate a revolution of Panama. And then they got these great concessions from in the Panama Canal, and then all of a sudden, their shares that they bought for like two cents in the dollar were worth $2 a share. And it’s actually a great cross between history and business, and how there are certain actors and players in there who straddled both lines, who had the business connections and then went to meet with Theodore Roosevelt to push things into action to help them in their business.

 

John Carney: That’s very cool. I’m going to look that up. That’ll be online in the show notes. Well, along with books — look, I always have my favorite sport quotes and business quotes. Is there any quote out there that you think is that one motivator? You’re having a bad day, a deal is about to fall apart, you’ve got to figure out how to save it for your client, save it for all your hard work and effort.

 

Dan Burkons: Yea there is. It’s from my Dad who is a source of tremendous quotes, I always go back to what he told me when I started out which is: if it were easy, everyone would do it.

 

John Carney: There you go. That holds true for sure. Cool. What about any recent or, over the course of your career — where you and a client have found the perfect deal but you’ve got some obstacle, and you had a come from behind victory that you’d like to share?

 

Dan Burkons: Man, there’s been a lot, because I feel a lot more often than not, getting a complicated commercial deal, whether it’s apartments or shopping centers or whatever, to the finish line, there’s almost — there’s very few deals that are without major road bumps, bumps in the road or obstacles. I’d think if one comes to mind, but it might not do that on the spot here. But there’s always something — there’s always something wrong, and there’s always some player in the continuum who has a different motivation than you that is getting in your way. And I think the talent of somebody who can put deals together and get them closed is — you see those obstacles, whether it’s, hey the lender backed out, or this issue came up with inspections, or the seller changed his mind, it’s really finding out — it’s getting behind the people — oh well P&C bank is now saying this. Okay, who is the decision maker? Get to the decision maker, whether it’s a buyer, seller, lender, appraiser, an inspector, don’t just let it happen to you. Find out who is the one creating this roadblock, what is their motivation, how can you help them change their mind. whether it has to do with: give me the money or money off the price, or if it’s an inspection issue that came up say, “Alright, I want to meet with you Mr. Engineer, I want you to show me exactly what the problem is and then let’s figure out what the solution is. And by the way, don’t you think there’s a less costly solution to this?” And those sorts of things that’s really drilling down into any problem to get to the root, deal with the root person raising the objection and then finding a way to overcome it.

 

John Carney: That’s fantastic. I’m glad that you shared that because — would you believe that every problem has a solution if you’re willing to work hard enough?

 

Dan Burkons: I believe that — look, there’s a few that are real tough, like Israelis and Palestinians and stuff like that. For the most part, yea. I do believe that every problem has a solution.

 

John Carney: Right. We’ll add a caveat. Asterisk real estate problem. Okay, well great. I think that just carrying on what Dan just said, you know, I learned this one day, and I think I might have heard it on a podcast or read it in a book: if you just wake up and expect when you go to work that you’re going to be putting out problems, and you’re going to do it with a smile on your face, eventually you’re going to have an expectation, and you’ll kind of build up that problem-solving muscle. And you won’t’ be as phased as much; you’ll become a cool operator, people will want to do business with you. Perfect.

Well that’s kind of wrapping up. We’re right on the thirty-minute mark, Dan. So I’d like to thank you for joining me in the locker room today. Where can the audience find you to carry on the conversation? Or if we have any out of state investors or local investors that want to get a hold of you to learn more about the Cleveland apartment market?

 

Dan Burkons: Yea, first of all John, thanks so much for having me, this was great, I love your show. I’m honored to be a part of it. And as far as investors who want to come talk more about Midwest apartments or anything of that nature, getting into deals and so forth. You can reach me at my office is: 216 2642018. Or if you look me up on the web its danburkons@marcusandmillichat. You’ll find my website, you’ll find my link my email address etcetera.

 

John Carney: Perfect. Well we’ll post that on the show notes it will be on my website. So there you have it folks. I truly hope that you picked up some actionable advice today from Mr. Daniel Burkons. Make sure to check out the Real Estate Locker Room Show on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play and hit that subscribe button to ensure that you never miss out on the pro tips from our guests. The mission here is to help you elevate your real estate game. If you like what this show is all about I’d be really grateful if you would leave us a nice five-star review that other investors like yourself can find this show and join the conversation. The post-game report show notes, links and additional content related to today’s show will be available on my website: johncarneyonline.com/podcast and while you’re there feel free to drop your email address into the opt-in and we can keep in touch through the monthly newsletter where we offer other investing insights, tips, tricks, hacks and other good stuff. Remember to stay focused on your goals, have fun and stay in the game. I’m your host John Carney and until next week: work hard play hard and profit hard.

One more time, thank you very much for taking the time to share your story with us Dan.

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