Galit Ventura-Rozen has multiple businesses and has been a broker/owner for over 25 years. In this episode, she discusses her 25+ years of experience in real estate, how being asset agnostic allows her to focus on finding great deals with great returns, and why she’s recently been shifting into development.
Galit Ventura-Rozen | Real Estate Background
- Has multiple businesses and has been a broker/owner for over 25 years.
- Based in: Las Vegas, NV
- Say hi to her at:
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Ash Patel: Hello, Best Ever listeners. Welcome to the best real estate investing advice ever show. I'm Ash Patel, and I'm with today's guest, Galit Ventura Rozen. Galit is joining us from Las Vegas, Nevada. She has multiple businesses, and has been a broker-owner for over 25 years. Galit's portfolio consists of self-storage, land, office, retail, and she has recently become a developer as well. Galit, thank you so much for joining us, and how are you today?
Galit Ventura Rozen: I'm doing very well. Thank you.
Ash Patel: You're very welcome. Galit, before we get started, can you give the Best Ever listeners a little bit more about your background and what you're focused on now?
Galit Ventura Rozen: Absolutely. I started my first career straight out of college as a real estate agent, dabbled in residential, did not like it, and transferred over to commercial real estate pretty quickly. Within two years, I had my first company and I've been blessed to have an amazing commercial real estate company since then. Other than that, I really just love entrepreneurship, so I'm constantly just opening different things that can benefit others in business. It's something that I love to do. I live in Las Vegas with my three furbabies, my three kids, which are all adults now, which is crazy, and my love... And I'm very involved in always supporting women when it comes to commercial real estate, and I'm on the local board of the Commercial Real Estate Women.
Ash Patel: Galit, what did you not like about residential?
Galit Ventura Rozen: Too much emotion. [laughs] Oh my gosh, people can fight over the color of the carpet for weeks. I kind of focus on the love, but I really love that commercial real estate is based on business, and not an emotion. One of the top three things you'll ever do that's most stressful in your life is buy or sell a home... And after three nightmare deals, I knew it was not for me.
Ash Patel: Yeah, the advice that I always give people starting out, whether they're a realtor or an investor, is eventually make your way to non-residential commercial. It's a better arena, I think, because you deal with business owners and professionals, versus residential landlords... And I guess the multifamily thing - you're dealing with professionals as well, but I just don't like dealing with residential tenants. I'm like you.
Galit Ventura Rozen: Yes, only commercial for me.
Ash Patel: Alright, so you're a go-getter; you don't like sitting still, and you've found a love for commercial real estate. How did that evolve? So you realized you hated residential... How did you get into commercial?
Galit Ventura Rozen: Well, I always believed in learning and knowledge before you jump into something. So after I tried out residential and saw that it wasn't for me, I found that one of the best commercial real estate teams in Las Vegas and interned with them. I was quite young, I was about 20 to 23, and I interned with them for six months. And then once I did that, I just really loved the idea of finding these buildings... A lot of times I can sell a property just based on one piece of paper to an investor, and I just love that piece of it, that it was really about the numbers and what made sense, versus the emotion that was involved in the investment.
Ash Patel: Yeah. And then on commercial deals, once you see the numbers, see the deal, a lot of the little nuances don't really matter. Unlike multifamily, we don't care how old appliances are. Often, even the age of the roof, HVAC is marginal, because there's so much meat on the bone. Do you find that as well?
Galit Ventura Rozen: I do. I do. At the end of the day, a lot of these investors - they don't even come into town until after a deal is in escrow, and then now they come in to see the property; sometimes they don't even come in to see the property, and I run the entire due diligence team, which would cover inspections and stuff... But I'm finding what I've learned throughout this process of closing so many deals is it's really about the bottom line, and what is it that they want to get out of it; if it's short-term, or long-term, or whatever it is that they're looking to gain.
Ash Patel: Galit, you are a broker and you do the due diligence?
Galit Ventura Rozen: Well, I have a team, but I like to oversee it. These are large investments; I work with very large investors, and they really look at my experience of closing so many of these... So I myself like to read the leases, I myself like to hire the team that goes out, I myself want to walk the property as well... I just am very hands-on, just because they're entrusting in my experience, and they're entrusting in my opinion. And don't get me wrong, [unintelligible 00:05:55.09] in commercial real estate always get the experts. I'm an expert in commercial real estate, I'm not an expert in structure, or things like that. So I make sure I always get that third party involved. But I'm reading all the reports and doing all that as well.
Ash Patel: You are my new favorite broker. That is awesome. Wow...
Galit Ventura Rozen: Thank you.
Ash Patel: That's great, because normally, the commercial agents, once there's a deal in the process, they kind of step back. I've never had a broker read all the leases, and maybe point out some warning signs, or things like that. So good for you. You said these are very large deals... What kind of dollar amount are we talking about?
Galit Ventura Rozen: Well, my largest deal has been 50 million, and then I don't believe in a minimum; it's all about what makes sense in the client. I've sold office buildings for $100,000, $150,000. One of my projects right now that I'm developing - I think we started with $140,000, but there's 51 units. So I'm selling those.
Ash Patel: What type of returns are you seeing right now?
Galit Ventura Rozen: Okay... So Vegas is still in a great market; we're still doing quite well. We haven't actually adjusted too much in the commercial as we have in the residential. I'm probably seeing right now six to seven caps, and I need you to understand that that's higher than we were at; we were probably at four to five, five and a half. So I'm seeing good returns, and then - I could probably say cash-on-cash returns it really just depends on if you're getting a mortgage or if you're paying all cash.
Ash Patel: Is there a lot of California buyers moving into Vegas, paying all cash?
Galit Ventura Rozen: Well, in the commercial we get people from all over the world. In residential, we still see a lot of California movers moving here, because our homes are considered very inexpensive in comparison to California. Our average home, they can't buy a shack there. But in commercial, honestly, I'm getting investors from everywhere. It's not just California.
Ash Patel: Are you asset-agnostic? Do you care if it's industrial, office, retail?
Galit Ventura Rozen: That's why I'm a little bit different... When I started in this career - quite young, straight out of college - a lot of the larger companies really in a sense made you choose one of those niches, or one of the specialties, and I never wanted to. I've done everything except for sell businesses, and I won't sell businesses... But I've been involved in every type of property that you could imagine, from land, to industrial, to retail, to multifamily. I've been involved in just about every specialty; I go where my clients are interested, and sometimes where the market goes.
Ash Patel: You are an absolute unicorn, I love it. Well, no, you have your own investments that you put your own money in...
Galit Ventura Rozen: Yeah.
Ash Patel: Do you raise capital for your investments? Or do you have partners? Or do you do it all on your own?
Galit Ventura Rozen: I do both. I really like having the investors, because there's a lot less risk, and sometimes it just makes more sense to do that. And also, with my experience, it's easier to get investors, because they can see the history and the background of success I've had. So really what we do is a lot of joint ventures, where either we'll find somebody that owns a property and we'll go ahead and go in with our expertise and put in some of the money, or we'll actually bring investors in our self storage facilities. We don't bring in lots of investors, like some of these self storages, where they bring in $5,000, $6,000 for each investor; we're actually going out and getting maybe one to three, maybe four, tops... But a lot of times, those three or four people are in the same group. I don't like to mess around with too many people, because it becomes a little bit more complicated, and then we get a lot of opinions.
Ash Patel: And these joint ventures - is it spread equally based on how much money they put in, or do you do like a preferred return, and then, you know, you get your own money for managing the deal?
Galit Ventura Rozen: We actually go in with our expertise as a sense where we say to them, "Look, we're coming to you, we've been doing this for 30 years; we know our expertise is worth something", so sometimes what we'll do is we'll come in and say, "You put in 60, we'll put in 40." It just depends on the deal. There have been deals where we've gone 50/50. And I say "we", because I have other people that are in with my end of the deal, so my 50%; it's not just me. So I think it really just depends on the deal. But a lot of times, if our expertise is brought in - and we're doing everything, and they're just bringing the money, and sitting aside, so we're obviously going to take more percentage of that and put in less of the money.
Ash Patel: Yep. And Galit, right now we're in November of 2022... What asset classes do you like? And are you only looking in Vegas?
Galit Ventura Rozen: Right now, I'm only focusing in Las Vegas and the surrounding areas; we have Henderson, and we have North Las Vegas, because this is what I know... And we're not out of opportunities. Obviously, if we run out of opportunities, which I don't see happening, because such a large part of our city is [unintelligible 00:11:04.18] and they still do releases to the public; we are not completely built like California, where you're out of land... Right now, it's only Vegas. And right now, the asset class that I'm really focusing on, believe it or not, is finding land to develop on; we're finding that because in my family, my father has been a general contractor for 40 years, and we can build things without that high developer fee, and really negotiate with the subcontractors, we can build property for way less than if you're going to go purchase it. And then we can turn that property into a success by filling it up, whatever it might be.
So purchasing land, focusing on self-storage, personally; for my investors, it's a little bit different. They're really interested right now in retail centers. I call them neighborhood shopping centers.
Ash Patel: Yeah. And if you would, tell the Best Ever listeners a little bit about that... Because a lot of people have this fear that there's a retail apocalypse. But these neighborhood centers - they're internet-resistant, they're recession-resistant, because there's services that people need. So why do you like those?
Galit Ventura Rozen: Well, my investors really like them, and I like selling them, of course, because there's less risk. They're usually looking for a supermarket that's well established, the ones that we know about from all over the United States, or just the West, because I'm on the West... And they have long-term leases, and then we have these smaller units. So when somebody moves out, we're still able to pay the mortgage.
The situation with these larger retail centers, when a big box moves out, sometimes it's a lot more expensive to break it up into smaller pieces. And also, sometimes it will affect your mortgage and you won't be able to cover it. And at the end of the day, we always want you to be able to cover your debt service, no matter what happens in the economy. And that's the most important piece, is that you don't go under, like what happened to a lot of people in the 2008 situation.
Ash Patel: And part of your portfolio consists of office space as well, right?
Galit Ventura Rozen: Yes.
Ash Patel: What are your thoughts on office?
Galit Ventura Rozen: Well, also, I take the same format with that; buy office buildings that are not just one tenant... Unless, again, it's a medical, or a doctor facility, where they're going to have a long 20 or 30-year lease... But then you're going to get a smaller rate of return, of course. So we like to buy office buildings that have multiple tenants, so again, if somebody moves out, it's not a big deal. I also own my own office building, which is about 4000 square feet, which just makes sense, because we have multiple businesses that we're running out of there, and we're even renting out a little bit of
Ash Patel: I love it. In terms of developing, what are you eyeing for development now? Is it retail? Is it mixed-use, where you have retail and multifamily? Is it office? What is it?
Galit Ventura Rozen: Right now we are focusing on self storage. That's what we know. My family's been in self-storage for -- gosh, before I even got into real estate. So it's just smart business. And again, low risk. So a lot of what we're doing personally, in my personal investments, is finding land that makes sense for self storage. And because we have such a history of it, we know what works, and we know what size works, and how many units, and how much land we need.
Break: [00:14:22.16] to [00:16:24.10]
Ash Patel: What does it cost you per square foot to build storage?
Galit Ventura Rozen: Oh gosh, it is all over the place... It could be anywhere from probably $75 to $100, $125 a square foot; it just depends on the location, the area... And honestly what's happening right now, and what's happening in the future with the cost of material. For example, steel is still in the sky; some of our power boxes and stuff are taking up to 12 months to receive... It just really depends on what's happening in the market at that time when you're starting to close contracts to build.
Ash Patel: Galit, I would imagine one of the things you do is look for competition nearby. What are other factors that will help you determine if this piece of land is good for self storage?
Galit Ventura Rozen: Well, we hire a company that knows what they're doing to run a study, first thing we do. I don't care how long you've been doing something, you don't know every single area; we did the same thing with the project that we're doing right now. We hired a company that made phone calls and asked people within a certain demographic, within a certain area of the property if they would be interested in storing their stuff there. And we also, of course, look at things like how many houses within a certain area, and things like that. But getting a professional study done by a company that does this all day long as always worth the money, no matter how much you think you know, because they know way more than you.
Ash Patel: And do municipalities typically limit how much self storage comes in? So the question is, if you build self-storage on one corner, is it possible that they would allow additional self storage to be built across the street from you?
Galit Ventura Rozen: I have not seen anything like that in Las Vegas or in any other cities. Again, I don't know about other cities. I know in Vegas, it doesn't matter. Usually, the reason you're not building corner to corner is because there just is not enough business for you. So it's just a logical decision. But I've seen self storages less than a mile away, or half a mile away from each other. It depends on where their occupancy is or vacancy is, and if that makes sense; and that's where the study comes in, because they show you all the self-storages within a certain area, and what's happening with their market.
So if you have a self-storage that's half a mile away, and they're at 50% occupancy, you don't want to build another one. That doesn't make sense. If you're seeing this 90%, 95% or more, or even a little less - well, yeah, that means that there is enough business in that area for everyone.
Ash Patel: Galit, when you go to zoning, are they thrilled about self storage? Or would they prefer other types of assets there?
Galit Ventura Rozen: So in our entire history of rezoning properties for self storage, we've never had a problem until the last year. And that was only because we are on a main-main street, but we are backed up to what's considered a historic neighborhood... And those neighbors just decided they didn't want anything in that building. We're converting a building and they just decided they're going to make our life not fun, and just complain, complain, complain, at every meeting with the city. But the good news is, we got it approved. But that's the first time; and it wasn't the city, it was the neighbors, and then the city council people trying to keep them happy. So we've found a place where -- I don't want to say they're happy, but we've found a place where we got it approved and met some of the things that they wanted.
Ash Patel: What were the key compromises that swayed their decision?
Galit Ventura Rozen: Oh my goodness... They wanted a higher wall, which has just been a nightmare...
Ash Patel: A prison wall, huh?
Galit Ventura Rozen: Yeah, they wanted a higher wall. And the funny part about this is, this used to be the home of the FBI, this building we're converting. So I guess they were okay with the FBI. But first thing was a wall... They were complaining about things like noise, and traffic, and things, which is not true, because self storage is one of the quietest buildings you can have. A lot of the things that they were asking for were not logical; it was just a way to get us not to build it.
So in all honesty, at the end of the day, I think the only thing that we had to meet from them was this wall. So they have walls that go to their backyard; we're building a wall right here, because we didn't want to touch theirs. You could only imagine what that would have done... And we're building a taller wall. So what it did is it took away some of our property, which in turn made it so we had to build less units.
Ash Patel: You said you're converting an FBI building... Was this an office building?
Galit Ventura Rozen: Yes. It's a three-story office building; you can only imagine how strong it was built, with steel columns, and stuff...
Ash Patel: So is it a tear-down?
Galit Ventura Rozen: No, no, we just gutted the middle, left the steel columns, and we're building the self storage in this structure; because it was built so well.
Ash Patel: Interesting. And it just has a normal elevator, or does it also have a freight elevator?
Galit Ventura Rozen: It has both.
Ash Patel: Okay. How many square feet?
Galit Ventura Rozen: Yeah, they have both in it, which is really neat. Of course, we upgraded it, but yeah...
Ash Patel: How many square feet is that?
Galit Ventura Rozen: 64,000.
Ash Patel: Across three floors?
Galit Ventura Rozen: Yeah.
Ash Patel: Is it just pre built pods that you put in there, or is it those kits?
Galit Ventura Rozen: No, we're actually building it. We're building it just like you would a building that was not being converted.
Ash Patel: Oh...
Galit Ventura Rozen: Yeah, we're just building it. We're going in and actually building these units. So a lot of the self storage units are made from metal, so they're just going to look like a regular self-storage unit.
Ash Patel: Did you look into those kits that you can buy?
Galit Ventura Rozen: We have. It's quite interesting... I'm not involved in the day-to-day; we have a project manager that does that. So I've attended a few of the self storage conventions, which are amazing. I was able to attend one this last year in Las Vegas. I didn't see the self kits for that, but I know that they have a lot of amazing things; like, we've looked at building self storages with tilt tops, and things like that.
Ash Patel: Interesting.
Galit Ventura Rozen: Yeah.
Ash Patel: I would imagine the kits are more expensive, but they just go up faster. But if you have tradespeople that can build them, that's probably your cheapest and potentially fastest route.
Galit Ventura Rozen: I would think so, but I just don't know anything about those.
Ash Patel: Yeah, interesting. Was that the highest and best use of that building, self storage? ...versus office. If you had an existing office space that you as a broker could probably have gotten tenants for, with a lot less work, less demo, did you look at doing that before self storage?
Galit Ventura Rozen: Absolutely. It was on the market to try to get office tenants for years.
Ash Patel: Okay...
Galit Ventura Rozen: The expense associated with converting that building into multiple office units - because for one person to lease that large, we could not find - was so expensive that we had it on the market to sell, and had it on the market to lease. No one wanted to invest $2 million to bring this building up to par, because remember, the FBI was in there for 20 years, and it was just very old. Everything needed to be torn out.
So yes, at the end of the day, it was more about we couldn't use it for what we had hoped to, and fill it and start making an income, so we went ahead and decided "Wait, we know self storage. Could we actually do this?" And then of course, the experts said "Yes, you can."
Ash Patel: Galit, a 64,000 square foot office building - I would imagine you have a decent-sized parking lot. And self storage doesn't need parking.
Galit Ventura Rozen: It really actually doesn't. We're in the downtown district, and we're in this specific district where they give variances for parking. We don't have tons of parking; we were going to have to get a variance for the office building, but it was already approved that way, and now we have more parking than we need... What was very interesting was the FBI actually used the first floor interior as parking. So that added on. If we were going to do an office building, we would have just done a 40,000 square foot office building, and then we wouldn't use the first floor interior as parking, so we could get it approved. Now what's neat is we don't have to do that; we get to convert the first floor into self storage as well.
Ash Patel: Perfect. That works out well.
Galit Ventura Rozen: Yeah.
Ash Patel: Galit, you've been in this business for over 25 years... What are some of the hardest lessons you've learned?
Galit Ventura Rozen: I've learned that it's okay to be picky about the clients you work with at first when you get started in this business. I also coach a lot of people in commercial real estate that want to go from residential to commercial, and I always say, "At first, you're going to get excited and want to take every client. Don't. Make sure that they're qualified, make sure that they're not going to waste your time, because some of them will be very high maintenance..." And especially with a lot of agents when they get started, they start at leasing. That's what I teach them, it's the easiest place to start. A lot of times, you're not going to get paid for your time. So I learned to be very, very particular and really explore and learn about the client.
The second thing that I learned is there are still people out there that will try to run scams, and things like that. It's the craziest thing. I still haven't figured out how they're running the scams, but they do. Recently, I've had multiple people - and there's nothing wrong with this country, but for whatever reason, everything's coming from Hong Kong... And I opened escrow on a project, and it was very small, it was one of the smaller units, and they never put in the deposit. And it was cancelled. It wasn't a problem. But I'm getting multiple people doing the same thing, and I haven't figured out what the scam is, but they're trying to open escrow, never put in the deposit. And they're sending fake documents, and things like that, that aren't them. So scams are real. You need to be cautious, so you don't get caught up in something like that.
And the third thing that I learned through everything in my 25 years of entrepreneurship is - like you said at the beginning, I kind of go a little bit more than normal commercial agents... And why not? Why not make sure your client is taken care of? Why not give them that expertise opinion? Why not guide them in the direction that will meet their goals the best? And I think that when you love what you do, you do that, and that's something that I think a lot more people in all kinds of professions could probably learn.
Ash Patel: Great advice. Galit, if you were to lose everything and start all over, what would your next steps be?
Galit Ventura Rozen: If I lost everything today and started over?
Ash Patel: Not only starting over, but --
Galit Ventura Rozen: Would it be all my businesses, too?
Ash Patel: ...everything that provides income to you is gone. As a matter of fact, let's throw another curveball... We're gonna put you in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Just you. What do you do?
Galit Ventura Rozen: Honestly, I'm one of those people that doesn't have that ego that a lot of people get when they're making good money, or they're successful. I have no problem going to work at 7/11. I have no problem doing what I need. But what I would probably do is I would find a job that I could get, and I would start saving that money, so then I can keep leveling up in what I wanted to do... But I will tell you, if I had the option in this story, I would go get my real estate license again immediately, and I would immediately start working for a company and I would get out there and hustle. I'm a hustler by nature, and I know that anything's possible, and the success you want to get to is, if you put in the work and get the right education, whatever that might be for your interest.
So I would probably go get a job to be able to pay the bills, whatever it might be, that I could qualify for, or that's available, and then I'd go get my real estate license at night, start building my business that night, while I could still pay my bills, and then hopefully start coming back and being able to get into a place where I can be where I am today.
Ash Patel: What I love about your answer is you would basically do what you've already done, all over again. That's incredible. That's great. I love that. You mentioned that you teach residential people how to get into commercial; what are some high-level things that you teach?
Galit Ventura Rozen: I start with the real basics. They already have an education and understanding what duties are to a potential buyer or seller, they understand the things that they need to do as an agent... So I typically start them out with leasing, as I mentioned, because leasing is a lot less complicated than income property sales, or anything to do with buying a property... And I usually just start them out with things like teaching them about the contract, about the letter of intent, about where to find the properties, about what questions to ask the potential clients... And I just start from the real basics. Then, of course, next I teach them how to find the clients, because that's important as well.
Ash Patel: Yeah. So any of your students - you're very lucky to have somebody of your caliber teaching them, so good for you for giving back.
Galit Ventura Rozen: Thank you.
Ash Patel: Galit, are you ready for the Best Ever lightning round?
Galit Ventura Rozen: Yes, go!
Ash Patel: Alright, Galit... What's the Best Ever book you've recently read?
Galit Ventura Rozen: My favorite book ever is The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks.
Ash Patel: What was your takeaway from that?
Galit Ventura Rozen: Oh, my gosh... Get rid of all your upper limits, because that's the only thing holding you back to everything you want.
Ash Patel: Galit, what's the Best Ever way you like to give back?
Galit Ventura Rozen: My favorite thing to do in Las Vegas for the last 12 years is be a part of the Shadetree Women's Shelter, and I plan three events a year for the kids and the moms, as well as I help with their fundraising.
Ash Patel: And Galit, how can the Best Ever listeners get a hold of you?
Galit Ventura Rozen: They can get a hold of me at my full name, galitventuraRozen.com. Or I'm all over social media under that as well.
Ash Patel: Galit, I've got to thank you for your time; you're sharing 25 plus years of experience, you've given us some great knowledge... I love that you're asset agnostic, where you're basically looking for great deals and great returns, and now moving into development... So thank you again for sharing all of your knowledge.
Galit Ventura Rozen: Thank you so much for having me.
Ash Patel: Best Ever listeners, thank you so much for joining us. If you enjoyed this episode, please leave us a five star review, share this episode with somebody you think can benefit from it, also, follow, subscribe and have a Best Ever day.
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