February 21, 2021
Joe Fairless

Top Takeaways From Every BEC2021 Day 1 Speaker

Four Steps to Build a Team That Lasts


Liz Faircloth, The Real Estate InvestHER

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

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

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

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

Beyond the Pandemic: Adapting Investment Strategies to the New Normal

John Change

John Change, Marcus and Millichap

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

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

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

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

Top myths of the pandemic

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

2021 Trends

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


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

Jillian Helman

Jillian Helman, RealtyMogul

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What makes her afraid?

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

Where does she see opportunity?

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


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

Trevor McGregor

Trevor McGregor, Trevor McGregor International

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

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

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

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

2021 Forecast for Apartment Investing

Brad Sumrok

Brad Sumrok, Apartment Investor Mastery

2020 performance highlights

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

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

Sumrok process for double digit returns

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

How to select the right target market

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

2021 Forecast

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

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

How to Write Off Almost Anything

Karlton Dennis

Karlton Dennis, Karla Dennis and Associates

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

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

Four simple steps to following the tax code

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

Most common tax nuances

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

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

Passive Investor Tips for Investing in Multifamily Syndications

Travis Watts

Travis Watts, Ashcroft Capital

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

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

Difference between passive and active investing

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

2021’s Place in the Housing Cycle

John Burns

John Burns, Burns Real Estate Consulting

High demand: 

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

Low supply: 

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

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

Unlocking the Fund of Funds Model

Hunter Thompson

Hunter Thompson, Asym Capital

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

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

SPV/Fund of Funds:

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

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

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

Preferential treatment of SPVs

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

Three Things it Takes to Make the Inc 5000

Inc 5000

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why Consider Industrial: The Case for Industrial Syndications

Monick Halm

Monick Halm, Real Estate Investor Goddess

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

Why consider industrial real estate

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

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

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

Institutional Capital Demystified

Lance Pederson

Lance Pederson, Verivest

Having a fund is a more efficient way to capitalize.

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

Institutional capital is the equivalent of owning a job

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

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

Institutional readiness checklist

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

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

Five Evolutionary Ideas for Your Business

Joe Fairless

Joe Fairless, Ashcroft Capital

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

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

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

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

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

Intellectual Debate: Interest Rates Will Be Higher in 24 Months

Elevation Capital Group

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

Winner – Interest rates will not be higher in 24 months

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

Losers – Interest rates will be higher in 24 months

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

State of Multifamily Market: Apartments in the Age of COVID

Robert Calhoun

Robert Calhoun, CoStar

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

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

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

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.

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