August 28, 2022

JF2915: Raising Capital as a FT Physician ft. Harry Nima Zegarra, MD

Harry Nima Zegarra, MD, and his wife are both physicians from Peru. They met in medical school and then decided to move to the U.S. to continue their education and training. After settling in Dallas, they decided to get involved in real estate five years ago. They first employed the buy-and-hold strategy with residential properties but discovered commercial real estate syndications and decided to switch gears. 

Today, Harry is the managing partner at Nima Equity, which raises capital for commercial multifamily investments. In this episode, he shares his top methods for networking and connecting with others who are interested in CRE, the skills he’s developed as a physician that have translated well into apartment syndication, and how he makes time for real estate while working full-time as a physician. 


Harry Nima Zegarra, MD | Real Estate Background

  • Managing partner at Nima Equity, which raises capital for commercial multifamily investments.
  • Portfolio: GP of 784 units across four states
  • Works full-time as a pulmonary and critical care medicine physician.
  • Based in: Plano, TX
  • Say hi to him at:
  • Best Ever Book: The Gap & The Gain by Dan Sullivan & Benjamin Hardy
  • Greatest lesson: The value of networking, and leveraging money and other people's time and expertise.



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Slocomb Reed: Best Ever listeners, welcome to the best real estate investing advice ever show. I'm Slocomb Reed, and I'm here with Harry Nima Zegarra. Harry is joining us from Plano, Texas. He's the managing partner of Nima Equity, which raises capital for commercial multifamily investments. They are currently GP of 784 units in Missouri, Texas, Georgia, and Florida. Harry, can you start us off with a little more about your background and what you currently focus on?

Harry Nima: Yes. Thanks for having me here in the show first. I'm a physician, and my wife - she's a physician, too. Originally from Peru, South America. We actually made medical school, we did medical school together for seven years. And after finishing medical school, we decided to come here to the US for better training and for better opportunities.

So we came here to the US, and because of the nature of our training, we were in different states. I was doing a residency and then a subspecialty, a fellowship, pulmonary critical care, so we worked in Pennsylvania for three years, in Virginia for another three years, and then after that for two years in private practice in South Texas. And then after that we moved to Dallas, where we live right now. And that's five years ago. Once we moved here, we really loved the area, and we decided just months after we moved here to buy our primary home, and very soon after that started going into real estate.

Slocomb Reed: Awesome. So when did you start capital-raising for apartments indications?

Harry Nima: We have been in real estate for about five years now. Initially, we were in residential real estate, which is, again, like the bread and butter of real estate here in the US, and that's the way how many people start in real estate...

Slocomb Reed: Of course, yeah.

Harry Nima: We were initially with a buy and hold strategy, long-term rentals... But after acquiring some properties, and even with a property manager, we discovered very quickly after a couple of years that it was going to be very difficult to manage all of that. It was becoming more of like a second job. So actually, after we acquired nine properties a year and a half ago, we decided that we needed to find another way how to be in real estate. And that is when we discovered commercial real estate, and more specifically syndications in apartment complexes. So that was about a year and a half ago.

Slocomb Reed: Gotcha. So you're in four states. How many deals have you raise capital for in the last year and a half?

Harry Nima: We started a year and a half ago, but initially we were doing our research, our education, trying to do networking. We both had our full-time jobs, and it was going to be very difficult to do everything ourselves, trying to do the networking and all of those pieces ourselves actually. So we were very blessed and lucky that we were able to join a syndication group. And with that syndication group we were able to do the networking, and we were able to use other experienced syndicators with us, and be able to join them in these projects.

So again, as you were mentioning, we have been in the last year -- we were able to mainly raise capital for these four projects. As you mentioned, one is outside Kansas City, one is in Georgia, in Warner Robins, which is about two hours, or two and a half hours from Atlanta, one is in Waco, Texas, and the last one was in Jacksonville, Florida.

Slocomb Reed: Gotcha. You and your wife are both physicians, a very highly skilled profession, as everyone knows... What skills that you developed as a physician do you feel have translated well into apartment syndications?

Harry Nima: One of the things in medicine - we go through a lot of education and training, probably for more than 10 years. Just medical school and college - you would think seven years, but residency another three more years... And then fellowship is another two years, and sometimes people do even more. So one of the things is be consistent, and do your education first. But the other thing, like as I was telling you initially, to do the networking part and to learn to work with other people together, from different backgrounds.

For example, in my case, I'm a pulmonary critical care physician. So every day when we're working in the ICU, we work together, with rounds, and I need to lean on other professionals that are really good in their field, like the nurses, the respiratory therapists, the pharmacists, the dietitians. So I learned very quickly that I need to trust other people in order to grow my business and go further.

Slocomb Reed: Harry, that's very helpful. Thank you. I have in my pre-show notes - you've mentioned already the value of networking. All things considered, you grew up in South America, you've moved quite a bit since coming to the United States; you've been in -- I believe you said you've lived in Dallas for the last five years now. So when it comes to networking for the sake of real estate investing, what are your top methods for networking and connecting with people who are interested in investing in commercial real estate?

Harry Nima: I would say the two main ways are the local meetups... As you probably know, Dallas and Texas in general are big, big places for real estate, and especially commercial real estate. For example, here in Dallas, we have four or five national conferences every year. So it's very easy to be around great people and people with more knowledge than you in this space. So again, meetups, big conferences, and also some webinars... Also, since 2020, after the pandemic, we do more Zoom calls, and things like that.

Slocomb Reed: Gotcha. So you were saying local meetups, and of course, being in Dallas, the conferences that come your way. Where does Zoom calls come into play with regards to how you meet people?

Harry Nima: I mentioned we still are full-time professionals... So because of that, we needed to leverage other people's expertise. So we were very lucky to join syndication groups. We are part right now of two syndication groups. They have more experience than us, for example in underwriting, in marketing, in raising capital... So we meet with them every two weeks, every week, and learn from others who have been in this space longer than us. We have been in real estate for five years, but we are a newer company, so we're a year and a half in this space.

Slocomb Reed: Gotcha. You guys have started in -- you said two different syndication groups that have done these four deals?

Harry Nima: Yes. If I may say, one is Think Multifamily, with Mark Kenney, which is a national group, but it's a local group here in Dallas.

Slocomb Reed: You said that's Think Multifamily?

Harry Nima: Yes, that's correct, Think Multifamily. And also, we're a part of Goodegg Investments, with Julie Lam and Annie Dickerson. So we're very happy and we're very grateful that we were able to join those groups, because they help us to grow our business, and to be able, as mentioned before, to do more networking and to learn from others.

Slocomb Reed: Think Multifamily is well known, and I had the fortunate opportunity to meet Annie Dickerson of Goodegg Investments at the Best Ever Conference in 2022. To your point about networking, Harry - we were just getting off the bus at the hotel, we had just come from the Best Ever party... Were you at the conference?

Harry Nima: No, no. I really wanted to go, and I was on call that week. That's one of the things about my work, is that sometimes you're in the hospital, and even if you do your best, you cannot change your shifts. Yeah, I try to be as much as I can, but as you know, I have a full-time job.

Slocomb Reed: Yeah. So while we're on the topic of networking, how I met Annie Dickerson - we were coming back from the Best Ever party, [unintelligible 00:09:46.26] bought us drinks. Great party, great conversation. We all come back... [unintelligible 00:09:52.17] bus back; Annie was on my bus, she was looking to get a late dinner, 10-11 o'clock at least, Mountain time... And none of her crew wanted to go with her. And I was like, "Hey, this is Annie Dickerson with Goodegg Investments. And I can be hungry too, you know?"

Harry Nima: [laughs] You need to take your opportunity, right?

Slocomb Reed: Right, I went down to the sports bar, because here's Annie Dickerson and my opportunity to pepper her with as many questions as I can think of, before they kick us out of the bar, or before she's done eating. And we had a really good conversation, that led to basically her spoonfeeding me some brilliant ideas that I'm very excited to act on over the next couple of years.

So to your point, not just networking with investors, but putting yourself in a position where you have the opportunity to meet high-level operators, high-level capital raisers, investors, high-caliber people in general. And to your point about not only networking meetups, but national conferences - it's a great opportunity to not only hone your craft in commercial real estate, but also to find, meet, get in front of, pick the brain of people who you know, that you've heard of in this space, make a connection there so that you can plant a seed for future growth and possibly doing deals or raising capital or investing and getting a return together.

Harry Nima: Absolutely.

Slocomb Reed: Specific to your activity in apartment syndication, what's been the biggest struggle you've had to overcome thus far?

Harry Nima: When we started initially in single family homes and then syndications, one of the problems in general is that you still have a full-time job. My wife, in that moment, was a full-time physician; we have two kids at home, six and ten years old, and they are very active in sports and all of that, as you can imagine how we do things on the weekends... So one of the struggles was time. And the other one was for people to take you seriously. Because you're supposed to be a doctor, and only supposed to be doing doctor things; if you are a lawyer, you're also supposed to be a lawyer. But there are some people who don't understand we may have other interests in life, other passions, and that we're very serious about that. So that's when we decided, again, to go more into these, and to put more passion and more time. And of course, there's struggles all time, because again, in critical care I need to take calls at night, or work on the weekends... But I always think where there's a will, there's a way. So we were able to make that work. Even during the pandemic, we were able to grow our portfolio. And after that, now that we're vaccinated and things are safer now, things are better now.

And just recently actually, my wife is taking a break now from clinical practice, so she's more at home, and she's taking care of the kids, which gives us way more flexibility, and to me it's great, because it gives me the peace of mind to be able to do all these things that I actually love.

Break: [00:12:58.13] to [00:14:44.26]

Slocomb Reed: You talk about struggling with, for lack of a better term, getting people to take you seriously when they know you from your current career, or what your career was previous to real estate investing. Getting people to take you seriously when what you want to talk about is investing in commercial real estate. And regardless of how new it is to you, Harry, the conversation you're having with the people you know outside of real estate - youe interest in real estate is very new to them. What tips do you have for other people in similar situations who want to be taken seriously by their friends and peers when they're first breaking into commercial real estate?

Harry Nima: One of the things is do your education, do your research. In order to be knowledgeable about anything, you need to study that. So initially, in order to go into this field, I was doing, again, audiobooks, I was doing podcasts, I was going to meetups and conferences... So at that point, I would feel comfortable to talk with other people about that.

And the other important thing is to show other people what you are doing, and to some degree, what you have accomplished. So with some of the people that I talk, it was like I was telling you, they didn't necessarily feel that I was doing this seriously. But to other people that had been following me for a couple of years and they knew that we were doing single family houses, and [unintelligible 00:16:06.08] we were taking good decisions in that regard, so in our portfolio - they were really on board after we told them and shared the news that we were jumping into commercial real estate.

So those are two important things... Again, do your education, take time to educate yourself, and share what you're doing with other people.

Slocomb Reed: Harry, another nugget that I got from what you just shared... Correct me if I'm misinterpreting you, Harry, but another thing that people need to understand when they're getting into commercial real estate is that not everyone with whom you want to share these opportunities, not everyone is going to be receptive. And there's not much that you can do to decide whether or not it's the right time for someone you know to invest, or whether it's the right time, or whether or not they're a good fit for the investing that you're doing... It's something outside of your control, so don't spend too much time absorbing the people who say no; just make sure that you are getting out there and getting in front of enough people that you end up talking to the right people, to whom you can demonstrate, "Here's the experience that I do have."

A lot of people come from residential single-family rentals, or two to four family, or they buy a 10-unit and then realize how hard it is being an active owner-operator and then decide to go into limited partnerships and capital raising. Make sure that you're sharing with enough people that you're putting yourself in front of enough people who will say yes. Is that fair?

Harry Nima: Yes, you hit the nail on the head, actually. And I always say this - you tend to invest or you tend to do things where you are familiar with, or in things that you're comfortable with, or in things that you have education already. And that's why so many physicians just mainly invest in mutual funds, in the stock market, and in a 401k - it's just because they don't understand, they don't know real estate, and there's other assets where to invest.

So in this moment for us, gratefully we have a clear path for financial independence, my wife and I, because we are doing this, and we see our company growing, and also we are investing passively with our investors. So our next step, or the mission we have, is just to mainly share, again, the knowledge with other people.

If there's any of my friends or colleagues or physicians that come to me and for example they are interested in - not necessarily in commercial real estate, but trying to do single family homes or short term rentals or things like that, absolutely. I try to give them information or guidance towards that, because that may be their passion or that may be their path.

And this is something also at the end for you, to how you feel about how you do things. You have a role in life. So it's not just necessarily, again, like "I need to grow this business" or "I need to grow my [unintelligible 00:18:51.16] At some point you're doing things to help other people, too.

Slocomb Reed: Awesome. Harry, are you ready for the Best Ever lightning round?

Harry Nima: Yes, I am.

Slocomb Reed: Harry, what is the best ever book you recently read?

Harry Nima: Funny... Actually, I was in a mastermind a couple of months ago with Coach Trevor McGregor; you probably heard of him. And he mentioned this book, The gap and the Gain, with Dan Sullivan and Ben Hardy, which is a great book, actually. It's a book directed to entrepreneurs, and it talks about how you pursue happiness. Many people try to pursue happiness, and that's not completely the right concept. It goes from happiness is inside you, and is right now, right at this moment. Because if you try to pursue happiness, you may never get there.

Many times we compare ourselves with an ideal self, or with other people who are more advanced in our field. For example, if I compare myself with Joe Fairless, for example - he's way, way more advanced, like years ahead of me, so I'm going to feel depressed and I'm going to feel bad about what I'm doing in this moment. But if I compare, for example, about myself two years ago, I see what I have accomplished, and I have gratitude for all these things that I have done, and for all these things that I have right now.

So that was a very powerful concept, and that's something that, again, you can apply to business, you can apply it to your professional life, you can apply it also to your personal life; and not only also just for you, but you can apply also for other people, like your friends, your wife, and your kids.

Slocomb Reed: That's awesome. Harry, what is your best ever way to give back?

Harry Nima: As a physician and as a real estate investor, I think I mentioned we love to give back in terms of education, trying to help other people who may want to get started in real estate, either passively or actively; again, like as I was mentioning to you, if I have some people that come to me that want to invest with us... But I have other people who come to me that maybe want to do single-family houses, or short-term rentals. And as I have also a background on that, I try to help them out. I try to guide them in one or other things that I can do.

Slocomb Reed: Harry, what is your best ever advice?

Harry Nima: I think we have mentioned this during the interview... So one is the power of networking. And not just in real estate, in any profession; even in medicine, or if you're a lawyer, that's super-important. And the other two things that I always tell people is education, do your research, do your education; at some point, you need to take action. So education, knowledge is very important, but without action, you may not go that far.

Slocomb Reed: Last question, Harry, where can our listeners get in touch with you?

Harry Nima: We have our company, which is called Nima Equity, And we're also on Facebook, we're on LinkedIn, and also we have our educational YouTube channel where we discuss basic terms about real estate, and more specifically commercial real estate and syndications.

Slocomb Reed: Great. And links to those locations will be in our show notes. Harry, hank you, and Best Ever listeners, thank you for tuning in. If you've gotten value from this episode, please do subscribe to our show. Leave us a five star review and share this with friends, so that we can add value to them with our conversations about commercial real estate investing as well. Thank you and have a best ever day.

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