February 28, 2023

JF3099: How to Become “Deadly Efficient” at Underwriting ft. Jason Baik


Jason Baik is a Managing Principal at Compounding Capital Group, a real estate investment firm that stabilizes value-add multifamily properties in Cincinnati, OH, and surrounding areas. A former corporate data scientist, in addition to being a general partner on 550+ multifamily units, he also teaches aspiring investors how to underwrite properly with the right pieces of data.

In this episode, Jason discusses leveling up from residential to multifamily investing, the challenges of networking as an introvert, and how to avoid analysis paralysis to become “deadly efficient” at underwriting.

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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, Jason Baik. Jason is joining us from New Jersey. He's the Managing Principal of Compounding Capital Group, which stabilizes multifamily properties in Cincinnati, Ohio, mostly taking on value-add deals. Jason's portfolio consists of over 550 multifamily units. Jason, thank you for joining us, and how are you today?

Jason Baik: Thanks for having me, Ash. I was looking forward to this conversation for a while.

Ash Patel: It's our pleasure. Jason, 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?

Jason Baik: Yeah, of course. So I followed the traditional minority path for a very long time. My parents taught me that if I went to a decent school, got a decent job and just put my head down for the rest of my life, that I would find fulfillment... But about 10 years in into my corporate career, I realized that I was living my life for someone else, and I decided to make the jump into real estate about two and a half years ago, when I had absolutely no experience, didn't really understand the difference between siding and soffit... But I decided to take a chance on myself for the first time in my life, and I haven't looked back since.

Ash Patel: I love what you said, and I too experienced the same minority challenge. And a lot of - people of Asian backgrounds, especially first generation, go through that. And if you don't mind, let's dive into that mindset a little bit. So we're pressured by our parents to follow a very traditional route. Ideally, the doctor, pharmacist, engineer; and if not that, just your C-level executive, or whatever corporate job you can get. How was it that you either found the courage, the knowledge, whatever, to stray away from that, and how difficult was that conversation with your parents?

Jason Baik: As I was growing up, I realized that I had to make my own decisions, and it was actually something that I just decided for myself and I didn't really tell them until after I did it. But that hurdle, it seemed like it was Mount Everest. If I've been told to live my life one way, to undo all of that, and to try and flip that on its head, it just took so much effort that it's something that I wish upon no one else, but it's something that I had to do myself. And I think part of it wasn't necessarily courage; I would say it was more frustration, where - I used to be a corporate data scientist, where I would spend most of my day in front of models, and spreadsheets, and code... And I always thought that the higher I went up in the corporate ladder, the more fulfilling or exciting my life would be. But I actually found out that it was the opposite. When I became a manager or director or vice president, I realized that I was focusing on all the politics, the managing people... I love managing people, but managing my boss, managing executives, and clients... That wasn't really the part I enjoyed, and I actually jumped around jobs every year and a half to two years to try and see if it was better on the other side... And I realized that the grass was not greener anywhere.

Ash Patel: You're bringing back memories. I had a 15-year corporate career, and I used to think, maybe the earlier years, that once you make it to a certain point, you put your feet up on the desk and just coast. And damn, I don't know if that point exists.

Jason Baik: Yeah, exactly. I don't know why we both have the same idea, but I think it may must come from, again, like minority immigrant parents, who think that once you make it to C-suite your life is made, without understanding the continuing hard work that a lot of these executives will have to put in, and stuff that they might be doing that they don't necessarily enjoy.

Ash Patel: Yeah. And the last thing I'll touch on is Asian parents don't hold back; they'll tell you going into real estate's a really stupid idea, and you're going to fail. [laughs]

Jason Baik: Oh, 100%. And my mom tells me I'm fat all the time; even when I meet her today, absolutely no filter.

Ash Patel: Yeah. Alright, back to real estate... One thing that I picked up on - and we'll touch on this maybe a little bit more later, but corporate data scientist - do you over-analyze deals?

Jason Baik: Oh, 100%. Especially today, I am much more confident in my ability to analyze and take down deals, because I have the experience that I can use and apply it to any deals I'm trying to take down moving forward. But when I was first starting, that analysis paralysis -man, that's a real thing, where because real estate is so unstructured, and it's kind of the Wild Wild West, and it's really hard to know who to trust or what numbers to trust... It took me a long time to overcome that.

Ash Patel: I just got exposed to this not too long ago - somebody that I'm mentoring, they could find a great deal doing simple napkin math, and then their spreadsheet turns into 10 different tabs, and they find a way to sabotage the deal... And maybe sabotage is a strong word, but they find some metrics to make this a bad deal. Over-analyzing it. So it's not just you're going stir crazy, but really, you're diving too deep in, too many what-if scenarios... So what was it that worked for you? Was it just doing a high-level proforma? Was it forcing yourself not to get too deep into the numbers? What was it?

Jason Baik: So I still go really deep into the numbers, I think because I have such a deep background in data. I just love spreadsheets. But I think the shift that I had to make was definitely a mindset one, where I had to understand that no deal will ever be risk-free; that doesn't exist in real estate. And I just have to be willing to accept the level of risk for the potential return. And once I make peace with that, that's what really allowed me to just pull the trigger and start actually buying properties.

Now, everyone says that they underwrite deals, or analyze deals very conservatively, but that's sort of like an echo chamber, where no one can be conservative for every single element of a deal. Because if you're conservative across the board, no deal is ever going to pencil. So you have to just be comfortable with certain areas of risk that you're willing to take a chance on, and use that as your guiding light to eventually take down deals.

Ash Patel: Do you bounce the spreadsheets off other people? Do you use somebody else as a sounding board?

Jason Baik: Oh, 100%. My business partner, Jay Balakar - we talk through most of our underwriting together, just because he's my partner, I trust him inherently... And so we'll usually talk through deals. But coming from a data background, the world of engineering and data is very transparent, and part of what I used to do was also to collaborate with other people, to make sure that I wasn't missing something. And so I kind of use that same philosophy and brought it into multifamily, where anytime I have questions, or I'm not sure about a specific metric, or a specific projection, I love talking to other people, other active underwriters, to see if we can kind of come up with a compromise and poke holes in one of the theories. Because again, at the end of the day, I am trying to mitigate as much risk as possible. I'm not trying to eliminate risk. So if someone can point something out that I didn't consider, as long as I have a plan B and C for it, then I'm okay with taking that on.

Ash Patel: I just learned something not too long ago in a conversation that I had with my lender... And I thought that lenders just want very basic, simple spreadsheets. And if you saw some of the spreadsheets that I've submitted, some of the proformas that I've submitted for $5, $6 million deals, it's as basic as you can get. And I thought that's what they wanted, until I asked; and they're like, "No, we would love your more intricate spreadsheets." And I'm like, "Well, I don't have any, but..." From your perspective, do you submit those multi-tab intricate spreadsheets to your underwriting or your lender?

Jason Baik: Yeah, I do. I also try to go one step further, where I recognize that most of the world is not super-technical. No one likes to get a spreadsheet, unless I'm talking to another underwriter or another individual that likes that type of stuff... So if a bank asked me for my underwriting spreadsheet, for their underwriter - yeah, sure, I'm happy to share it. I know that that underwriter will be able to tear it apart and understand what I'm saying. But more often than not, if I'm just talking with just the broker or the person making decisions, I'll try to take all of the findings that I have and distill it into actual insights. So I'll just type up bullet points in an email to summarize everything that I've found, all the risks, how we plan to overcome them, so that there's more of a cohesive story. And I think that's [unintelligible 00:09:45.26]

Ash Patel: That's cool. So you provide the narrative as well.

Jason Baik: Oh, all the time. A lot of data people think that the technical aspect is 100% of the work, but it's actually - I'd say it only gets you 90% of the way there. And the last 10% is the most important, where you have to explain this in plain English. And again, it's something that I learned from corporate America, where my clients, my executives, my boss didn't really care about my R-squared value, or my chi square test; they kind of just glazed over. They wanted to understand what this meant for the business, and what they could do with this information.

Ash Patel: Jason, I'm gonna let you in on a secret... I bet most underwriters don't know what to do with half the spreadsheet. Seriously. So good for you for breaking it down for them as well. So look, man, we started this interview all backwards. We talked about our Asian descent, analyzing deals... Let's go back to the beginning. Tell me how you got into real estate and left the corporate world.

Jason Baik: So I started off pretty much the same way that everyone else does, absorbing as much free information as I possibly could. I listened to a bunch of podcasts, I read a bunch of books, and I did my best to at least casually network with people one on one. I am severely introverted, which means -- just to dispel any misconceptions, I'm not shy or afraid of talking to people, I just get really tired when I'm outside... So I didn't necessarily do a lot of networking in-person, but yeah, I started just by absorbing as much information as I could, and trying to craft my ability to underwrite effectively, because I always knew that that was going to be my leverage anyway. Coming from a data background, I'm not going to all of a sudden transform into a salesperson. So I knew that I'm pretty technical, and I'm pretty good numbers - let me use that as my foot in the door.

Ash Patel: Did you know that you would want to partner from the get-go?

Jason Baik: That's a good question. I don't think so, because - again, going back to the minority mindset; my parents have drilled into me the idea that I should trust absolutely no one. That I'm the only person that I can trust, that family is the only people that I can trust... So I actually started off in real estate and single-family homes, because I figured I would just scale one house at a time, take them all down by myself, and that would be that. But it took a lot of pain and suffering for me to realize that single family homes, as much as I love them, I'm not trying to talk crap about anyone else's field, but it's just really difficult to scale one house at a time... And when I wanted to commit to multifamily, I knew that I had to, again, get over that mindset, where I had to just find partners. It took me a while. It took me maybe a dozen partnerships that I didn't really like and we didn't really go far before I found Jay... So I'm grateful for the experience, and it just took a lot of trial and error.

Ash Patel: Man, you're resonating with all of our Asian Best Ever listeners, including myself... Thank you for sharing all those little snippets. Your partner Jay Balakar - superb human; is he an extrovert?

Jason Baik: He also says that he's introverted, but we are both the type where if you put us in a room, we can be charming and talk to people and have a good time. But we just get tired easily. So sometimes we'll try to take shifts when we're talking to people outside.

Ash Patel: Got it. Awesome. When you were doing single family rentals, Jason, were you still in corporate America?

Jason Baik: No. Again, I quit my day job when I knew absolutely nothing.

Ash Patel: Oh, my goodness... Who does that? Who leaves a great job and just rolls the dice? You didn't want to ramp up the real estate and then quit?

Jason Baik: That is what a lot of people who are smarter than me do. But my one superpower is my self-awareness. And I know how I function best. So again, as reckless as it may seem, I spent two years saving up a few hundred grand, and I decided to treat myself more as a startup. So save up some money, reduce my living expenses, so that I can give myself a little bit of runway. And if I didn't find success in two to three years, I'd kind of run out of money and then have to find a day job again. But I figured that if I gave real estate 80, 100, 120 hours of my time every single week, that I'd be able to scale a lot faster than if I'd half-assed in it. I suffer from golden handcuffs. It's really hard to try to network at 9pm at night, after a long, hard day, when I make six figures from my job. It's really easy to just be like "Oh, let me just postpone that. Let me just watch Netflix today." But when I don't have a salary coming in, I am incredibly motivated to push myself outside my comfort zone.

Ash Patel: Good for you for having that self awareness. How many months into your single family journey did you realize this is not scalable, this sucks, some of the frustrating calls that you get from tenants? What was that turning point, and how long into the journey did it take?

Jason Baik: Yeah, it was about not even a year, but after I purchased the property, after I did renovations, as I was looking to refi, I realized that the cash flow was good, but they're just single family homes. I have seven single-family homes in Philly, that I bought in a short amount of time, and I went through the struggle of stabilizing all at the same time... But even just driving to them, because -- they're close to one another, but driving down to Philly, and then going five minutes to the next door, and then 10 minutes to the next door, and then another five minutes to next door just added up so quickly that I quickly right after I finished the last property, I decided to stop buying any more single family homes, and try to get my foot in the door into multifamily... Because I was just tired of being inefficient. And I'm the type of person that I love to do everything once, because I need to understand how something functions, and how I can tear it apart and understand the nuances... But I also hate doing the same thing twice, because I'm lazy, and I want to be as deadly efficient as I possibly can be.

Ash Patel: Yeah, I can imagine when you're visiting these houses, you start seeing things that need to be addressed... That's got to just be a pain point; your list can become never-ending, each visit that you do.

Jason Baik: Exactly.

Ash Patel: Yeah. Whereas multifamily, the more you notice, the more you hire that out, or appoint somebody to take care of that. So take us through - you're frustrated, decided that no more single families. What was that pivot like?

Jason Baik: It was actually quite enjoyable, in that multifamily functions much more like a corporate business than single family homes does. Because I could take down single family homes on my own, I don't really need partners, there's no room for partners, so I was kind of just figuring stuff out on my own, making mistakes, learning from them and pivoting... But with multifamily, I had to find partners. Today we have a virtual assistant, so we have to function much more like how I used to function in corporate America, which was having systems and processes, making sure that we are aligned on business objectives, having candid conversations, revolving around our business priorities... So in hindsight, I really liked it, but getting started also - it was very hard. I realized that most people in multifamily have much more sophisticated analyses that they do, and back on single family homes, despite my pretty good background in data, I was actually buying most single family homes on the back of a napkin math, because it was single family homes... So I had to develop a new skill set of learning how to actually underwrite, which took me some time.

Ash Patel: Some of the best syndicators or multifamily operators that I've met have been engineers. What systems basically do you apply to finding and managing multifamily?

Jason Baik: I would say it's actually more of a philosophy than anything specific... Because again, I used to be a corporate data scientist for advertising, and so there's really nothing that's directly translatable. We use technology like Slack and Asana, Basecamp, that I used to use in corporate life, that we implement today... But I think it really is more of the philosophy of trying to understand levers of what makes a deal work, and trying to account for all scenarios. And it's the same exact thing when I was working on a client project, I was managing a team, I had to make sure that we were working towards an objective... And if any obstacles came up, I was the one that was responsible for figuring out a solution; not necessarily just admitting defeat right then and there.

When I also analyzed deals, I've developed a process that makes me much more efficient, and I think because of the engineering background, I was able to tear something down to its basis form, understand how to make it a little more time efficient, and then build it back up into a process that I use today.

Ash Patel: That sounds like a rabbit hole, but I'm really curious - can you give us just a glimpse of what that is?

Jason Baik: Of course. So part of what I do, which I learned through my own experience, but at this point a lot of other multifamily investors do the same thing, is that you should always start top-down. I made the mistake of taking a look at a deal that a broker sent me in an email, spending ten hours underwriting this, because I was just starting, getting super-excited because the returns looked amazing, and then it turns out it was in Camden, New Jersey. And after doing that two or three times, I realized, "Okay, I should probably make sure I'm comfortable with the location first and foremost, because that's the part of the deal that I can't change." I can put $5 million into a deal, completely transform it; I can't put $5 million into a zip code to transfer it, necessarily, at this point.

So even something as simple as googling around to see where the address is, driving around on Google Maps, trying to see how many different commercial retail stores there are... What I really like to do is, again, I guess based on our commercial experience, to where if a multifamily is next to a lot of pawn shops, if it's next to a lot of discount furniture stores, if it's next to a lot of check cashing places, that indicates that the local tenant population can't really make rent payments on time necessarily... So that is a good indicator that's not necessarily specific to multifamily, but using real estate overall.

On the other hand, if a multifamily apartment is next to some Trader Joe's, and next to some nice steakhouses and sushi places, you know that there's enough people nearby that make enough disposable income that can support these retail centers, so I'm more confident that the apartment that I buy in that area will be able to sustain high occupancy.

Ash Patel: Thank you for sharing that. So yeah, having those factors ahead of time will keep you from doing the 10 hour deep dive into the numbers.

Jason Baik: Yeah. A lot of people think that underwriting or analyzing deals, you immediately open up a spreadsheet and it takes you hours... But I'd argue that I could, quote unquote, underwrite a deal by just googling the address, driving around for five minutes, then if I think it's below what I look for, then I'm done with my underwriting session.

Ash Patel: What if the numbers are awesome, but it's in Camden?

Jason Baik: That's a great question. I think that's a personal preference that a lot of people have, to just ask themselves - it really depends on where you are in your journey. If you're starting out - again, I started off in some C minus areas, just to get my foot in the door, just to learn, just because it was cheap... But today, I try to stick to B areas and up. But if you're willing to take on the burden, if you're willing to take on a little bit of additional risk to manage that level of headache, then that's what you've got to do to get started.

Ash Patel: Yeah, great answer. And I grew up in Jersey, so yeah, I'm not going to Camden either. Jason, with you and your partner, how do you separate your duties?

Jason Baik: That's a great question, too. So fortunately, Jay - I love him as a person. At this point, I consider him a friend and a brother. And so we get along and have similar mentality, similar mindset... But even better, we also offset in terms of skill sets. Jay lives in Cincinnati, so he is the boots on the ground presence, and despite being a former Deloitte consultant, his knowledge of construction is so sophisticated; I just don't know how he got it. So he manages the contractors; he makes sure that the materials are being delivered on time, that the actual work is being performed up to par... And then remotely, I do all of the financial management, making sure that our draw requests are filled out, that our cash reserves are full, that our distributions get paid out... Every time Jay finds a deal, because he's local, he talks to the brokers, I'm the one that underwrites it before we discuss together... So we're able to have loose specialties, but obviously, we're just a two person crew. We have a virtual assistant again, but we wear a lot of hats today, too.

Break: [00:22:07.15]

Ash Patel: Do you share the virtual assistant?

Jason Baik: She is our full-time virtual assistant for me and Jay.

Ash Patel: Okay, good. I obviously live in Cincinnati; very competitive for multifamily. How are you guys getting that competitive edge to find deals?

Jason Baik: So part of it is a combination of consistency, and a little bit of differentiation, where because we take down value-add deals, we are able to make competitive offers for assets that most big players would be too frustrated with, or might be too scared off by. So we have a strategy that allows us to really take on a small niche, that not a lot of people play in. And because we have construction management in-house, we're able to keep our costs really low. So we are competitively advantaged in that way. We keep great relationships with brokers, and we actually also do direct to seller... So we're doing whatever we can to just stay on top of people's minds. Nothing we're doing is revolutionary, but we're just consistent.

Ash Patel: Are all of your assets in Cincinnati?

Jason Baik: No. All the assets that we manage as lead sponsors are in Cincinnati, obviously, but we have deals across the country that we leverage other people for. We are always general partners, but someone else is a lead sponsor and boots on the ground presence.

Ash Patel: And you're not opposed to expanding to Indianapolis, Columbus, Louisville, Lexington...?

Jason Baik: No, not at all. Cincinnati is a great market, but it's not the largest MSA, so we actually do look for deals in Indianapolis, in Columbus, in nicer parts of Dayton... So we consider the Cincinnati, let's say MSA, our target, and not necessarily just the Cincinnati city itself.

Ash Patel: And Jason, do you take on investors for your deals?

Jason Baik: Yes. So we do both syndications and JVs. I wouldn't say we are necessarily syndicators. We have done syndications before, but a syndicator is typically someone that only takes down large multifamily deals and they have to keep the deal churning, so that they can sustain their business. But we're very lean. So we use syndications and JVs as a tool to just get the deal done, depending on what is needed.

Ash Patel: My ears perk up when I hear JVs, because I'm thinking, I get a larger part of the deal and a higher return. Is that the case? So if you have a deal that you don't necessarily need 50 investors on, you will find one or two and just do a joint venture?

Jason Baik: Oh, 100%. It really depends on, again, what the deal itself needs to be a success. But we also love JVs, where we have two to six investors that are experienced, or maybe they know enough about real estate, but they just want to learn a little bit from us... So it's a mutually beneficial relationship, where we can invest into a deal together, they can see our systems and look to copy us if they need to.

Ash Patel: How do you structure that in terms of splits? Is there general partners, limited partners? Is everyone an equal owner based on what they bring to the table for capital?

Jason Baik: There's a blend of things that we do. We try to also reserve a little bit of equity for sweat equity, because sometimes people who want to participate in JVs don't really have any experience. So splitting it up perfectly just based on the money, even though this individual might not be able to contribute to the actual stabilization for the next seven years - it doesn't really make logical sense sometimes. So we try to be fair to everyone. And most JVs that we've done are very creative, and we try to make it so that everyone's happy, if that makes any sense.

Ash Patel: It does. And that's important, because we have a deal where I have a partner who's just working a lot, because the asset's close to her house... And she's like, "Hey, can I start getting compensated for this?" And I'm like, "No, you shouldn't be doing any of that. Hire it out." But that's a point of contention, so good for you for recognizing that.

Jason Baik: Yeah. It also came out of a lot of open conversations, where in theory JVs should be with five investors that are all on a similar plane, that have the same exact amount of money to invest in a deal, which would be great in a perfect world... But that's almost never the case. Someone always has more experience, someone always has more money, someone always has more time... So it's more about making sure that every single individual is compensated for whatever they're putting in, and how much value that they provide.

Ash Patel: Do you have a core group of return JV investors?

Jason Baik: That's a good question. We try to partner with the same people from our network.. But I'd say it's not like every single deal is done with exactly two or three. I'd say our network of JV investors is probably 15 to 20. And we're always looking to expand that. I'd say our biggest criteria though is getting to know someone first. We never take a JV partner on and we haven't had some sort of relationship with before. So we need to meet you, we need to hang out with you, we need to spend some time with you, we need to talk to you in person and grab dinner and drinks before we feel comfortable coming into the next 5 to 10 years working on a deal with you.

Ash Patel: Yeah, good for you. Otherwise, that could potentially be toxic. So a natural segue to my next question - how the hell do two self-proclaimed introverts get investors? How do people know you're out there? How do they know you're looking for deals, looking for investors?

Jason Baik: Part of that is, again, pushing ourselves outside of our comfort zones. It's not like a marketing tactic. I'm incredibly introverted. But last year, I went to I think 25 events across the country, because that's what it takes to get stuff done in real estate. As much as I love meeting people over Zoom, I love having the volume of people I can meet digitally, it pales in comparison to the level of connection that you can build in-person, when you're just having a good time, and grabbing drinks, grabbing coffee grabbing dinner. So I've made it a priority within the last few years to just do it.

Now, I've had to compensate for my introversion, where maybe I'll take a break at a big conference, like in the middle, take a nap and then come back out... But it's kind of just getting to that mindset of doing whatever it takes. And Jay is the same way. We just force ourselves to network, meet people and just do whatever we can.

Ash Patel: Yeah, that was very well said... And you're not alone. We've seen this at conferences, where people will tell you, they have to go recharge for a little bit, be alone, and come back out. But good for you for pushing yourself. There's no substitute to talking to one of the principals of a company, but have you thought about hiring a salesperson? Crazy high energy dude like me, just extreme extrovert, that goes around talking to everybody? Have you thought of [unintelligible 00:29:51.06] salesperson?

Jason Baik: Yeah, definitely. We keep that conversation alive in terms of how we continue to grow, because we want to scale. And we're trying to keep expenses lean, but we're also trying to be mindful of the direction that we want to head. So that would be great. I think our struggles -- we just haven't found the right person. We've talked to a few people that have shown interest, but they're either not super-serious, because they have a day job still, or they might not be the right vibe for what we're looking for... Because we want high-energy, we want extrovert, but we don't want someone that doesn't necessarily go contrary to our values or personalities. So I think we're always open to it, but we're just still waiting for the right person.

Ash Patel: Yeah, that's a tough one. That is tough, finding the right person for that... Because you can't have somebody that also sells for competitors... Have somebody that not only sells for you guys, but other people as well.

Jason Baik: Exactly. I think part of the big lesson that I've learned about real estate is more so than numbers, you should also understand incentives; you have to understand what makes people tick, and what their personal agenda is... Because as long as incentives are aligned, I feel like you can figure out everything else. But more often than not, the person that you're trying to do business with might have something else that they're working towards, that could eat away from your business together. So I'm all for the economics of relationship building.

Ash Patel: Yeah. Jason, in today's conversation we dove into so many ancillary areas, and didn't really dive a lot into real estate, or maybe lessons learned. So I'm going to invite you back; let's finish this conversation. And if you would, give us your best real estate investing advice ever.

Jason Baik: The best real estate investing advice... I guess I can say something that is geared more towards aspiring investors... But the best thing that I did for myself, and that I was told by a bunch of people online was to try and develop a niche skill set. And that's not to say that you're looking to be an employee; you have to be scrappy, but you have to show that you're scrappy. But when you're talking to people, you have to have very concrete value that you add. Otherwise, you're never going to find the team or the partner that needs that specific skill set.

I think even today, new investors reach out, because they want to try to work with me, or they want to see if I've got anyone in my network, and all the people that tell me "I'm great at finding deals, I'm great at networking, I'm great at underwriting", I know exactly how to fit you into a box so I can put you in touch with people... But all the people that tell me, "Oh, I'm young, and I can do everything", those are the people that I don't know what to do with you... Because I can't just take you at your word that you're good at everything. So if you're trying to find traction, if you're trying to get your foot in the door, I think you have to know that you have to have a lot of hats, but you have to market yourself as something very specific.. Because that's really how you build a brand.

Ash Patel: Which is why it's so hard for you to find that right salesperson.

Jason Baik: Exactly.

Ash Patel: Awesome. Great advice. Jason, are you ready for the Best Ever lightning round?

Jason Baik: Yeah, I've always been ready.

Ash Patel: Alright. Jason, what's the Best Ever book you've recently read?

Jason Baik: I'd say "The unfair advantage" by Hasan and Ali I think are the authors. It's a book about understanding what leverage you have in life, whether that's money, or experience, or intelligence, or networking. And I liked it because it kind of focuses on, again, you needing to be self-aware enough to know what you're good at and leveraging that to find success.

Ash Patel: Jason, what's the Best Ever way you like to give back?

Jason Baik: Also a great question. I really like to teach others. And I don't mean that in a self-fulfilling way, because I know I have education that I sell... But even in corporate America, I loved managing teams, where I was able to help someone avoid a mistake by giving some tips and advice from my own experiences. And even today, people that reached out that want to break into real estate, that want to get better underwriting, I just love talking to them about it... Because if I can save anyone the heartache and the headache that I went through, I consider that a win.

Moving forward, I would love to have some sort of charitable cause that I give back to, because I don't really have a high appetite for consumerism. I'm very frugal, again, based on my heritage... So I don't really like shiny things, but I just don't have that charity in mind yet, but I'm always on the lookout for one.

Ash Patel: Awesome, Jason, and a segue into my next question - you mentioned you're selling a course. How can the Best Ever listeners reach out to you? And tell us about the course. Are you going to teach me how to do your intricate spreadsheets?

Jason Baik: It's actually a combination where it is the art and science of analyzing deals, where the art is all of the steps that you can do with free online resources to really understand if a deal is worth pursuing. And then the science is the actual modeling that I go very in depth into, tab by tab, and explaining to you all the fundamentals of the business of multifamily. So I provide benchmarks, I provide assumptions, I provide an over the shoulder look at how I underwrite deals, to try and elevate the underwriting education out there. And again, it's been my passion project for the last better part of a year, I put my soul into this. I have a few students already, and hopefully they're finding good value from it.

Ash Patel: And Jason - fair disclosure to the Best Ever listeners... I've been friends with Jason for about three years; just a superb individual. Jason, how can people get a hold of you? And how can the Best Ever listeners find out about this course?

Jason Baik: Yeah, my name is Jason Baik. I'm active on LinkedIn and Facebook. I'm actually in the process of making a YouTube channel too, where depending on when people watch this video, it should be the same name, Jason Baik. If you're interested in learning more about what we do in terms of our projects for multifamily, our website is compoundingcapitalgroup.com. And for underwriting education, it's theunderwritinglab.com.

Ash Patel: Awesome. Jason, thank you so much for your time today. And again, it's my fault that we talked about a lot of interesting topics, just not a lot of real estate. But I appreciate you sharing all of your knowledge, pivoting from corporate America, going into real estate, starting with single families, learning that wasn't the right thing for you, and scaling into multifamily... So again, thank you for your time today.

Jason Baik: Thanks for having me, Ash.

Ash Patel: Best Ever listeners, thank you so much for joining us. If you enjoyed this podcast, please leave us a five star review, share this episode with someone you think can benefit from it. Also, follow, subscribe and have a Best Ever day.

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