Originally from India, Mahee Makula left his hometown in the early 1990s and trekked halfway around the globe to Stillwater, Oklahoma to pursue a master’s degree in industrial engineering and management. However, as he neared graduation he learned that jobs in his chosen field were not widely available. This prompted Mahee to make a quick pivot. Mahee turned to computer science and, upon graduating, took a job in the IT department at the General Motors plant in Kansas City, Missouri.
Over the next two decades, Mahee broadened his skill set and technical knowledge and relocated to Chicago. He became an expert in SAP (systems applications and products) software, an integral component of enabling businesses to manage finance, logistics, and human resource functions. And eventually, he decided it was time for him to step away from the corporate world and become a freelance consultant.
“Earlier in my career, I saw all of these politics within teams for career growth, like promotions,” Mahee said. “Since 2009, I have been getting my own projects. It gives me flexibility. I can take more vacation. It’s not just an old two-week vacation, either. If I want, between my projects, I can take a month-long vacation.”
A few years after establishing his freelance business, Mahee and his family decided to leave the big city in search of better schools. With this decision, the family found themselves moving to Naperville, Illinois, and Mahee became a landlord out of necessity.
“At the time, I couldn’t sell my old house, so I ended up keeping it and being a landlord for almost five years,” Mahee said.
“I had only one, a single-family, to maintain at the time. I had both good and bad experiences with the tenants. But then, in 2018, I started hearing about syndications through podcasts.”
Looking for diversification from traditional stock market investments, Mahee took his growing knowledge of the multifamily syndication market and began placing investments in 2019. Since then, he’s grown his portfolio to over six passive investments and is in a great place to balance being a real estate investor and freelance IT consultant.
“If there is someone, like me, who has a full-time job and they like their job, then passive investing is a good avenue to go,” Mahee said. “On some of these podcasts, the people keep saying, ‘The reason I moved to real estate is I didn’t like my job.’ That’s not the case with me. I like my job. So, I’m okay getting a tiny bit of ownership as a limited partner in the deals.”
As he considers additional investments in the future, Mahee’s philosophy of evaluating potential real estate offerings focuses mainly on the relationship with the syndicator, as well as completing his own course of due diligence.
“It’s like betting, not only on the horse but on the jockey. The jockey is important. Who you are investing with, and that their values align with yours —all of that is very important in picking investments,” Mahee explained.“You also have to do your own due diligence because each market is different, and each sub-market is different. You should remember these are not liquid investments like with the stock market where you can sell the investment if you don’t like it. It’s more like a long-term relationship with the syndicators.”
This holistic approach to real estate investing also has cemented Mahee’s confidence in real estate as a viable long-term asset for wealth building.
“There are still a lot of investors who are not exposed to syndications because of their lack of knowledge. I hope more people also diversify their retirement portfolios in real estate, either passively through syndications, or even actively,” Mahee said. “If you look at history, most millionaires have made their fortune through real estate.”
About the Author:
Leslie Chunta is a marketing consultant with nearly 15 years of experience in creating dynamic marketing programs and building brands for startups to enterprise organizations. She has worked agency- and client-side with high-growth companies that include Silicon Valley Bank, JPMorgan Chase, SailPoint, EMC, Spanning Cloud Apps, Ashcroft Capital, Netspend, and Universal Studios. www.thelabcollective.com
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this blog post are provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as an offer to buy or sell any securities or to make or consider any investment or course of action.