Kevin Bupp began investing in real estate with the help of a mentor more than two decades ago at the age of 19. After saving up $7K to buy his first property, Kevin soon realized he needed to scale if he wanted to create significant cash flow. He acquired 150 single-family rental properties before venturing into commercial real estate.
Today, Kevin is the owner and president of Sunrise Capital Investors, a boutique real estate private equity firm that specializes in acquiring and managing niche assets such as mobile home parks and parking lots. In this episode, Kevin discusses his experience as an investor during the economic downturn of 2008, how the experience changed his outlook on assets going forward, and how to avoid risky deals in today’s market.
1. Lessons Learned from the Great Recession
In 2008, Kevin had invested in properties in South Florida, where the economy had been heavily reliant on the construction industry. There was also significant oversupply in the market at the time. When the downturn hit, Kevin and his team faced major occupancy challenges and had to lower rents.
“I tried to work with lenders that we had at that point and unfortunately, what I realized is that most banks — they weren’t prepared for this either,” Kevin says. “I had poor credit coming out of that, had no money, lost my personal residence, and it was just a very personally and financially challenging time, but I think it made me a stronger person both individually as well as professionally.”
2. A New Outlook
Prior to 2008, Kevin had always viewed himself as a cash flow investor; however, after the implosion, he realized that Florida had been a much more speculative market. Moving forward as he worked to rebuild things, he knew he needed to make some changes. First, he needed to make sure his properties produced actual, real cash regardless of vacancies and turnovers, and he needed to be honest with himself about the investor reserves he would need to secure that positive cash flow.
He also kept in mind advice he’d received from his mentor: “No matter how bad a recession gets, there’s really only one thing that can ultimately make an investment fail, and that’s a debt load.” He now only buys assets that go through multiple, aggressive stress tests. Additionally, he keeps a very low leverage point — less than 60% across his portfolio.
3. How to Avoid Risky Deals
Kevin says the riskiest aspect to consider going into any deal is the sponsor, their level of expertise, and what their personal balance sheet looks like. Does their track record go back prior to 2008, and if so, how did they weather that storm?
He also notes that thin margins coupled with the prevalence of floating bridge debt in the multifamily market add a level of risk. “Rents have seen a historical increase over the past two years, but there’s a certain point in time where tenants simply can’t afford it,” he says. “If we hit that ceiling at some point during that bridge period where they’re trying to execute on that business plan, then how does that impact their ability to tie perm debt on, or even exit out of that asset before that bridge debt comes due?” The answer will likely boil down to the expertise of the sponsor and their team.
Kevin Bupp | Real Estate Background
- Owner/president of Sunrise Capital Investors, a boutique real estate private equity firm that specializes in acquiring and managing niche assets such as mobile home parks and parking lots.
- Previous episode: JF 16: How to Amass a Large Portfolio, Lose Most of It, and Come Back Stronger
- GP of $100M+ in AUM with properties in 13 states
- LP of:
- 3,000+ multifamily units
- 2 million sq. ft. of self-storage
- 500,000 sq. ft. of medical offices
- A dozen car washes
- Based in: Clearwater, FL
- Say hi to him at:
- Greatest lesson: Passion is the key. Without it, ideas die before they have a chance to thrive, people don’t start their own businesses, and success remains a speck on the horizon.
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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 am with today's guest, Kevin Bupp. A number of years ago I had the pleasure of being interviewed on Kevin's podcast, The Cashflow Investor. He's also a returning guest on the Best Ever podcast. So if you google Joe Fairless and Kevin Bupp, episode number 16 out of over 2500 will show up.
Kevin is joining us from Clearwater, Florida. He is the owner and president of Sunrise Capital Investors, a boutique real estate private equity firm that specializes in acquiring and managing niche assets like mobile home parks and parking lots. Kevin's portfolio consists of being a GP on over $100 million of assets under management in 13 states. He is also an LP on multifamily, self-storage, medical offices, and a dozen car washes. Kevin, thank you for joining us, and how are you today?
Kevin Bupp: Ash, thanks for having me, my friend, and excited to be chatting with you again. It's funny, you dated me in episode 16, because Joe's been doing this now for how many years now? Yeah, you said 2,500 plus episodes. And so I'd probably be embarrassed to go back and listen to that show way back then, but... That's many, many years back.
Ash Patel: And you were one of the pioneers.
Kevin Bupp: Yeah. [laughs]
Ash Patel: Kevin, 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?
Kevin Bupp: Sure. And just to keep a long story short, I'm 43 years old at the present time and I've been investing in real estate for over two decades. So I got involved at 19, bought my first property by myself. I was working underneath someone else's tutelage for about a year and a half, just learning the business, and I ultimately bought my first property at the age of 20, which was just a rundown row home in a small town in Pennsylvania where I grew up.
And really, my mentor at that time, he was about 25 years older than I, and I only knew what he knew. Literally, he was the only person I had ever met that had a very different lifestyle than my parents growing up, and he was an entrepreneur, my parents were nine-to-fivers. And so I didn't try to reinvent the wheel. I literally saw his success that he was having. He had been there, done that for two plus decades, so I literally just followed exactly his processes. And for the most part, his process was to buy and hold. He had a lot of single-family and small multifamily rentals.
But I learned very quickly, Ash. I started with 7,000 bucks. I was tending bar at night and going to school during the daytime hours. In between that, I was with him, hanging out, learning everything I could... But I learned very quickly on that first property. I used my $7,000 that I had saved up and had a private lender put in the rest. And I learned very quickly that I couldn't keep that one for long term cash flow, because it would take me a very, very long time with the couple $100 a month of positive cash flow to ever save up enough to actually buy that second property. So very quickly I learned to modify his business plan, which led me to, basically -- I would normally flip two or three properties, wholesale them and then buy one and keep it. Wholesale two or three, buy the next one and keep it. And I did that for many, many years.
And fast-forward, about seven years into that, I'd acquired about 150 single family rental properties, and then ultimately started venturing into commercial real estate, which is really where we have focused our time and energy over the past roughly 13, 14 years. And that consists of, as you had mentioned, multifamily, manufactured housing communities, parking lots... And then I've got passive investments and a litany of other commercial asset types. But commercial has been the core focus for, again, the last 13, 14 years.
Ash Patel: Kevin, 150 single family rentals, my head's spinning.
Kevin Bupp: [inaudible 00:05:42] My head spun too, and I realized there was a much more efficient way than that.
Ash Patel: Kevin, at what point did you start taking on investors?
Kevin Bupp: Literally the first property. So it depends how you define investors, right? Because for the first many of years it was more debt partners; but the very first property, and that partnership-- or I guess not that partnership, but that relationship was a direct result of the mentor that I had been working with for a year and a half. And that mentor, I worked for him for free, so I don't want it to sound like I was getting paid. Basically, I was his errand boy. I did whatever he asked me to do - get coffee, drop off contracts, pick up some supplies for one of his rental properties... Anything so that I could just be around him and listen to how he interacted with people, how he dealt with people, what he would say on the telephone, and the things of that nature.
And so in exchange for that, we became really good friends, and as a direct result, I got to really kind of get intertwined in his business network. And he had a few local high net worth individuals that had been acting as the bank for him for many, many years. And one of those individuals basically stepped into my first deal and they did the first couple of deals with me.
So really from that very first deal, I was using, I guess you could call, private money, or I was raising capital. And after a certain point in time, really it was when I got into larger scale commercial real estate did I really understand what syndications were. And again, that was about seven years ago was when we actually did our first official syndication. Prior to that, we had done multiple maybe JV structures. Some that probably might have been deemed a security, which we just didn't know any different, but I've been raising capital the entire time I've been an investor.
Ash Patel: Got it. And Kevin, you're one of the few that I've interviewed that was an investor during the 2008 downturn. How did that affect you?
Kevin Bupp: Oh, it was horrible. It was a really challenging time. The sky fell faster than what we could react to it. I was down here in south Florida, Tampa area, and then all the way South to -- roughly Fort Myers was where our properties were spanned in between. And Florida is a very different economy today than what it was back then, much more diverse in nature. Employment was heavily relying upon the construction industry back then, prior to the crash. And in addition to that, there was just a massive oversupply of housing being built here, especially in some of the markets a little bit further south to where I am here in Tampa Bay.
And that excess supply, when the music finally stopped, it created massive challenges for us, not only from an occupancy standpoint, because ultimately what we ran into is that a lot of our tenants - we had 20-year-old vintage product - they had options. There was a ton of brand new homes that were built that the builders started renting them out. They started renting them out to basically offset their cost and expenses, because they weren't able to sell them at that point in time. And so we had a massive challenge with occupancy due to oversupply.
In addition to that, we had to lower our rents, to offer concessions. So I learned very quickly - and I always cringe when I hear people say that rents never go down, "Rents didn't go down during recession." It really depended on where you were, right? Every market is its own little silo. And I could promise you that rents were impacted, as were occupancies, back during that point in time.
And so it was a tough time, Ash. I tried to work with all the lenders that we had at that point. Unfortunately, what I realized is that most banks, they weren't prepared for this either, and they didn't have loss mitigation department set up. They had not planned on it being as bloody as what it was. So most banks weren't willing to work with us in that first year. It became very challenging. We had lots of notes called due, and we did our best to keep our head above water, but inevitably, the majority of the properties went back to the bank, and we just worked through it over a period of time. It took really like four or five years to really dig through and sort through the mess.
And so on the flip side of that, looking back, I learned a lot of lessons, and it made me a much stronger person. I had poor credit coming out of that, had no money, lost my personal residence, and just a very personally and financially challenging time. But I think it made me just a stronger person, both individually as well as professionally. And it really forced me to take a much longer outlook on what I really wanted to do, but also rebuilding what I had lost, and was there a more efficient way to do it.
So that kind of leads us to larger multifamily and manufactured housing communities. And that's really what made that pivotal moment occur, is that this took me many, many years as I was a single individual. I wasn't married. I didn't have kids when I had built my first little empire. And now I was with a woman who ultimately became my wife. I'm still married to her today. I knew we wanted to have kids, and I was like, "I need a more efficient way to rebuild this. There's got to be an easier way." And again, that's really where I put my energy and resources into multifamily, which really quickly shifted to manufactured housing about a decade ago.
Ash Patel: Yeah. My hat's off to you. I applaud you for turning a negative into a massive positive. You mentioned that banks weren't prepared for this. They're the ones that caused this. [laughs]
Kevin Bupp: Yeah, right. [laughs]
Ash Patel: But we have the luxury of seeing the remnants of the dot-com bubble. We have the luxury of seeing what happened when Lehman collapsed in 2008. So knowing what we know, how are you preparing for whatever is on the horizon? All we do know is the markets have become very volatile and the Fed is talking about potentially a three quarter point increase. So what does that do to your outlook on assets going forward?
Kevin Bupp: That's a great question. I used to call myself a cash flow investor back then. And don't get me wrong, the majority of our portfolio produced positive cash flow, but there was a lot of additional inefficiencies that existed with that single family model. And I know that today there's a lot of technology, a lot more resources to help more efficiently manage single family properties, progress residential and invitation homes, and those guys, they really perfected the scattered property management model, and it's just done better today and more professional options are available today than what were available back then.
So backing up a little bit, again, I always perceived myself as a cash flow investor, but really when it came down to it and I was honest with myself, after the implosion happened, looking back, Florida was much more of a speculative market. My investments, although we had low leverage points, taxes and insurance were fairly significant back then. We had just gone through a few major hurricanes, which made the insurance premiums go through the roof... And after you have one turn in a two bedroom, two bath, or three bedroom, two bath single family home, again, if you're honest with yourself, what you find is that they produced very little cash flow, even at a lower leverage point.
So moving forward, as I looked to rebuild things, I knew two things had to occur. Number one, they had to actually produce real cash flow. They had to be self-sustainable with vacancies, with turnovers and I just really had to be honest with myself about the necessary reserves that were needed to, again, produce this positive cash on an ongoing basis, no matter what turns and vacancies ultimately occurred.
But number two, looking back, and just generally speaking - this is after talking to many investors that have been through many other downturns and speaking back to my mentor - one thing that always stuck in my mind was that, Kevin, no matter how bad a recession gets, there's really only one thing that can ultimately make an investment fail, and it's a debt load; not being able to actually service the actual debt load during a downturn if you lose occupancy, or you have to lower rents, or whatever it might be.
So moving forward, we only buy assets that go through multiple stress tests. They have to actually cash flow. We put them through pretty aggressive stress tests. But in addition to that, we keep a very low leverage point. Our entire portfolio today - we're lower than 60% across the board. And I know that that might be leaving money on the table. We've got an asset that we're talking about right now potentially refinancing, but now rates have gone up quite a bit. The 10-Year Treasury has jumped significantly over the past couple of weeks, and we're like a 50% leverage point on it. So we've got a lot of equity that's sitting there doing nothing, which is painful in and of itself, but I know no matter how bad it gets, I will be absolutely fine with that property, no matter what occurs over the next two or three years, and I don't have a debt term coming due for four more years. So I'm in a pretty good situation and that allows me to sleep very, very comfortably at night.
And so again, I just was able to reevaluate what I felt I could have done better pre-last crash to what our business looks like today. And again, I have no stress in my body at all. Other than, again, just watching the 10-Year Treasury spike like crazy, and knowing that that's going to create challenges buying and also refinancing, at least for the initial period of time, until we see how things settle out here. Hopefully, that answers your question, Ash.
Ash Patel: It does answer my question, and you're being very cautious due to the previous lessons learned.
Kevin Bupp: Yes.
Ash Patel: And again, we have that luxury. Kevin, what are your thoughts on what's going on today with a lot of new syndicators raising a lot of money, taking down deals with very low margins, where they have to flawlessly execute or the deal doesn't work? Are you seeing a lot of risky deals being taken down out there?
Kevin Bupp: It's hard to define what a risky deal is. I think the riskier aspect of any deal, whether it's good or bad in our eyes, is the actual sponsor and their expertise, and what their own personal balance sheet looks like, or the company's balance sheet. Can they weather a potential storm, or is it really just the LPs money that's at risk here and really there's nothing much at risk for the individual sponsor? And so what does a track record look like? Does it go back prior to 2008? How did they weather that storm?
So again, it's really hard to say what's a risky deal or not a risky deal. I would say that I love multifamily, but we know that the margins have been incredibly thin for many, many years now, and there's lots of bridge debt out there. There's lots of floating bridge debt. And I think that the riskier component of all this, aside from just the bridge debt, are the C class assets. There's a certain point in time, and the argument from the sponsors, at least over these last two years, especially in the C class stuff, is that rents will continue to follow inflation. So rents have seen historical increases over the past two years, but there's a certain point in time, Ash, where tenants simply can't afford it. They simply can't afford to pay their rent. So when do we hit that ceiling, first and foremost? And if we hit that ceiling at some point during that bridge period, where they're trying to execute their business plan, then how does that impact their ability to tie perm debt on, or to even exit out of that asset before that bridge debt comes due? So that's really where I think the big risk lies, and a lot of it is really going to boil down to the expertise of the individual sponsor and their team of how they can weather any potential hiccups that come their way.
Break: [00:15:59] to [00:17:45]
Ash Patel: I love when you said, "Look at the balance sheet of the sponsor." I don't think enough people do that. Very important. If somebody is living paycheck to paycheck and they just raise $10 million, it should be a red flag.
Kevin Bupp: And if whatever is on our balance sheet is only attributed to some sponsor fees that they just collected on that deal from the capital they raise, and that's truly their nest egg - everyone has to get started somewhere, right? And so I'm not going to say that's a bad thing. It should be a reason for potential concern. Dig a little deeper, get to better understand who that sponsor is, and get comfortable with them, and assume the worst. Assume that times are going to be turbulent. This is if you're talking to some sponsors now, just know that times are going to be turbulent. I don't care what asset class you're in, there's going to be turbulence over the next couple of years, and who knows how long; it's already rearing its ugly head in a very significant way right now. And so just be overly cautious and dig deeper than what you might have had to do three, four years ago.
Ash Patel: Great advice. Kevin, I knew you as the multifamily guy and the mobile home guy, and today I read car washes, parking lots, self-storage, medical office. Give me that evolution. How'd you get into all this?
Kevin Bupp: Yeah. You know, Ash, we like to take a very strict focus, a very siloed focus on our own business as GPs. So that, historically, for the last decade at least, has been manufactured housing communities. So we became experts in that space, and that's all we did as far as on an active level. I've always said that it's really hard to be everything to everybody, meaning that, okay, we buy manufactured housing, we buy multifamily, we buy self-storage, we buy all this stuff and we operate it internally, and this is our team. And that's challenging to do. Each one of those assets have some carryover skillsets, but a lot of them have their own unique nuances as well, and it's really hard to be the best to everybody or to every asset class. And so again, we've always focused on manufactured housing. Recently, we stepped into the parking sector - again, a very, very boutique niche asset class, very fragmented in nature, which is what attracted us to it, and also not very operationally intensive based on how we have our business model set up. So it didn't really pull us away from really our core focus, still manufactured housing.
But along these last 10, 15 years, there's all these other asset classes that I absolutely love. I love the underlying fundamentals of medical office. I love the underlying fundamentals of car washes and self-storage. It's just, we never wanted to venture down that path and dilute our focus. So I've got a lot of personal investments with sponsors that I've known for years that, again have long track records, and I don't want to operate their self storage, but I'll put my money with them and allow them to operate it, because I love the asset class.
So I think there's a million and one different ways to make money in real estate, and I like to have my portfolio diversified, and it's pretty challenging for me to diversify the portfolio as a GP, but I surely can do it by investing with other GPs that are masters of their craft.
Ash Patel: Out of curiosity, why is it that car washes are popping up everywhere now?
Kevin Bupp: They are everywhere. I think there's reason to be concerned there as well. I live in the Tampa Bay area and the US 19 is a major north-south corridor, and there's a stretch of two miles, and there's two that just opened up and a third one that I saw a sign "Let's go for it". In fact, they're probably within a mile and a half of each other on the same side of the road. I'm like, "How does that work? And why did the county even approve that?" That just doesn't make sense. One's got much better ingress-egress than the other two, so my guess would be that that one does much better than the other two... And is there enough population of cars that will ultimately allow all them to thrive?
But then the bigger question that I asked them -- I was talking with Dan Hanford the other week. They've got a car wash fund, and they've been buying car washes; quite a great deal over the past couple months. And I asked him, I said, "The one thing I don't know the answer to--", because these car washes weren't around; maybe some, but I think that express model car wash - it might have existed somewhere, but it wasn't like at this day, where you see them on every corner. Pay 10 bucks at your car wash, or pay 40 bucks a month for unlimited subscription. Is that one of those budgetary items that people cut out when they cut back on spending? Do people care that much about having their car washed when they're worrying about putting food on the table? And I don't know the answer to that. So I think that's where the risk might come into play over the next couple of years with that car wash business.
Ash Patel: And what kind of returns as an LP do you see in car washes?
Kevin Bupp: It's a great question. And I've only been invested in them for just about a year, and so I can only speak to what it's looked like at least over this past year, and they're high teens. They're cash flow machines if they're run correctly and the right business models behind it. Two of the operations that I'm in, that have exceeded 20% - just talking about cash on cash, 18% cash on cash returns over the past year. And the IRR - it's kind of hard to say at this point, because there hasn't been a capital event, but they cash-flow like crazy. But again, anything can cash-flow like crazy if it's bought right and it's bought in the right location. If you're paying a premium for it and it's in an inferior location, you're not going to be necessarily able to replicate that same performance all the time.
Ash Patel: Yeah. Thanks for sharing that. And Kevin, in my world, retail office, they revere the triple net leases, right? They think it's the easiest to manage. But when I think parking lot - man, that takes us to a whole nother level. Can you dive into some of the details of parking lot investments?
Kevin Bupp: Absolutely. And it's a very interesting asset class, and it has a lot of similarities to that of what mobile home parks were, call it 10 years ago when we started buying. 10 years ago, it was predominantly a mom-and-pop industry with very few institutions or REITs in the space, and banks didn't fully understand the asset class, and - again, just very fragment in nature. Well, it's very much akin to what parking lots are. Again, you go down to Manhattan or you go to downtown Chicago, you're going to find parking garages that are owned by REITs and large institutions. But in most other prime and secondary markets, what you'll find is that they're owned by maybe other professional investors that are our size, but lots are owned by mom-and-pops, especially the surface parking lots. You'll find that they're owned generationally by local families that have had it for 30, 40, 50 years, and it's just been a cash flow machine for them for many, many years.
So that was one of the interesting aspects... But the most interesting aspect for us - and again, this is kind of comparing it to mobile home parks and what we like and dislike about that asset class - was with mobile home parks, there's only a handful of professional management companies throughout the US. Very much the opposite to multifamily, right? Multifamily - you can go to pretty much any market and find at least a handful of management companies that you can shop. Mobile home parks - not so much. And we had originally built our own vertically-integrated property management company, and as we were scaling, we considered, actually, passing it off. There's a couple national companies in the space, in the property management side and a couple regional, and we tried three out of the five, and it was a horrific, horrible experience. So we brought it back in, and built out a much larger internal property management company, but it's a very operationally-intensive part of our business. It's not the sexy part of the business. It's there because it's necessary.
With parking, what we've found is that there's an inordinate amount of parking operators throughout the US. So operators, meaning property management companies that manage the surface lot that manages the garages. But a very, very small percentage, less than 5% of those parking operators actually own any of the real estate, which was mind boggling to me; absolutely mind boggling to me.
So what that meant is that we could go in and find an asset that had a value-add opportunity. And I'll give you an example of a value-add opportunity on a small lot that we bought up in North Carolina. It was a 24-space lot in downtown historic Wilmington, North Carolina; had been bought by a local doctor. He owned some other real estate. He bought it from the bank back in 2010. It was a failed development [unintelligible 00:25:22.20] It was a carryover, it was an REO. And he bought it and he had his son managing the property, collecting cash. They didn't accept credit card machines... And it was like in a vibrant part of town. It was right on a signalized corner, a block away from the historic waterfront downtown. And the year that we bought - we bought it about two years ago, and its prior full year NOI was roughly $38,000, and he only paid $400,000 for the property. So he was doing great. That was a great unlevered 10% return.
And we looked at it and realized that, number one, me, I don't even carry cash half the time. I only used credit card. So I wouldn't even have been able to park there, because he would've never accepted a credit card for me. So he's missing out on all this opportunity. And we found there was a number of operators locally, one, having the biggest presence in that local marketplace. And we put out an RFP to all three of these different operators, and we were really looking for a triple net lease. That's what we wanted. We really wanted a passive model in the parking lot space. And ultimately, where we landed was with the biggest operator in this area. They knew the data, they knew exactly how many turns this parking lot could do on a daily basis. They had a dynamic pricing model in place, which the old owner did, so they would charge higher flat rates in really, really busy parts of the year where there was events happening, a lower rate during the solar parts of the year... And they signed with us. We paid 695k for this lot; the seller won, based on what he paid, and we've got a $72,000 triple net lease in place with 3% annual increases for the first five years. So kind of a win-win for us and huge value-add play, but it's a kind of a set it and forget it now.
So there's a lot of opportunities just like that one in the parking sector, where they're just being mismanaged. They're not being operated efficiently. They don't have technology in place to even accept credit cards. So there's a number of those that I can speak to, but that's the attraction of that space. It's still fragmented. And that was a small deal, but there's many other deals out there that are just like that - they're just stalling technology, having a dynamic pricing model and getting a better operator in place that can run the day-to-day that's got that infrastructure and they've got that local market knowledge... Literally, that is the biggest value-add component in that space. And there's many opportunities out there that are sitting there waiting for the picking.
Ash Patel: I love that out of the box thinking. Good for you. Kevin, what is your best real estate investing advice ever?
Kevin Bupp: That's a great question. I think just really sticking to the fundamentals. I feel like that went out the window, Ash. The fundamentals have gotten thrown out the window over the past three years, especially during COVID. Everyone kind of pulled back a little bit, March, April, May, wondering what was going to happen. And then we just saw this massive inflation take hold. And man, it's been like a rocket ship for the past year and a half. And one of the ultimate results of that are these massive double-digit rent increases over this past year and a half. It's been absolutely insane, especially in certain markets across the country. And a lot of the prior underwriting fundamentals have kind of been thrown out the door, assuming that these double-digit rent increases are going to continue on.
And I'd say, just if anything, just pull back; don't get the anxiety that there's not going to be another deal, or if you don't buy this one, "Well, I'm not going to come across another deal because this is a one in a million." Forget that. Just know that there's always another opportunity. And in fact, if anything, slow down a little bit. Don't ignore those fundamentals, and know that in times like this, it might take a while for us to see it get flushed out, but this is when the real opportunities are made.
Let's talk about all the people that made the most money in multifamily over the past decade. Looking back, a lot of them - they were ready to rock and roll in 2010, '11, '12, '13, '14. And that's when, if you look at their track record, they're still buying today. And you look at the ones they've gone full cycle on - look at the returns that they had back on those deals that they bought shortly thereafter, that last recessionary period; they absolutely cleaned up shop.
So I would say, stick with the fundamentals and just be true to yourself and be willing to wait for the right opportunity to come along, because it will. I promise you, it will. And don't overextend yourself buying something just because you feel the necessary need to go buy something, because that's what everyone else is doing on Facebook or Instagram.
Ash Patel: I love that advice, and temper your expectations. Back in '99 when that tech bubble was booming - very reminiscent of today, where I was probably in my early 20s, maybe 22 years old. I'm 46 now. So I remember everybody was investing in stocks. And if you didn't, you were an anomaly. It's like, "Hey, why are you not putting your money in the market?" Which a lot of people that are newer to real estate think this is the greatest gold rush ever. And again, people who have lived through a couple cycles know that that pendulum goes back and forth and things eventually will equalize. COVID accelerated a lot of different things. It accelerated the move to suburbs, away from city centers, people traveling, working from home... But my opinion - again, I think yours as well - is things tend to equalize over time.
Kevin Bupp: Well, look what's happening to the city centers. Couldn't wait to leave Manhattan. In migration to Florida and all these other places from Manhattan, those people were not going back to the city. They're back in the city now. In fact, there's more people that want to be in the city than it can actually fit in the city [laughs] and rents are at an all time highs.
You're right, everything tends to equalize over the long term. And so just be aware of that and just really be cautious as we move through these next couple of months and potentially even a couple of years, as we work to really unravel what we've kind of built up here, not just even during the pandemic... I don't think -- the Fed never really allowed things to market crash as hard as it probably should have during the last recessionary period, and ultimately kept pumping money into the market, and then the pandemic just accelerated that.... And so it could be a time for reckoning. Who knows what the Fed's actually going to do when ... really starts hitting the fan. Time will tell, but we know that things are slowing. It's happening. Again, as we record this today, it's the 15th of June, and the Fed will announce today. They originally said it was going to be 50 bps, and then just a couple days ago they said, "Ah, it's going to be 75." So we'll see how many more times that happens and where we end up in a couple of months.
Ash Patel: Again, great advice. Kevin, are you ready for the Best Ever Lightning Round?
Kevin Bupp: Absolutely.
Ash Patel: Let's do it. Kevin, what's the best ever book you recently read?
Kevin Bupp: I read it like two or three times a year, and it's a short, easy read... It's The Go Giver. It's a phenomenal book.
Ash Patel: What's the best ever way you like to give back?
Kevin Bupp: I participate in two different local non-profit organizations that are local to me, that I've been helping for the last decade or so. So I actually put together a 280-mile bike ride each and every year, that supports these two local charities. It's called 72 Hours to Key West. Started it 11 years ago and myself and 74 other cyclists ride from Fort Myers Beach down to Key West each and every fall here in Florida. And that's a phenomenal way for me to give back, but also do it while really enjoying a hobby that I've come to love.
Ash Patel: I love it. Do you have to ride back?
Kevin Bupp: No, no. We take a bus back and you haul the bikes back in a trailer. No.
Ash Patel: Leaving Key West on a bicycle might be a challenge.
Kevin Bupp: Yeah, exactly. Exactly.
Ash Patel: Awesome. Kevin, how can the Best Ever listeners reach out to you?
Kevin Bupp: Best place to find me, my website, kevinbupp.com. In addition to that, Ash, if you don't mind, I'd love to give away a free copy of my recently written book, The Cash Flow Investor. They can go to kevinbupp.com/free book and grab a copy of that. But yeah, go to kevinbupp.com either way if you want to reach out to me, listen to my podcast or use the Contact Us page to get to me directly.
Ash Patel: Incredibly gracious of you. Kevin, thank you for sharing your time. You're one of the legends in this industry, almost a 20-plus-year career in real estate. Thank you for sharing your story today. Thank you for telling us what you're getting into in the future and just your overall outlook on the market. It's been a pleasure having you today.
Kevin Bupp: Thanks for having me, Ash. This was amazing. And keep doing what you do, my friend. You're helping a ton of people out there. So thank you for having me.
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