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You don’t have to be the person showing every home. With a community management entity, you’re passing the baton to others on handling designated portfolios. While keeping the cash flowing! Dale Corpus presents Steven Bond, your advocate in Utah real estate. Join in the conversation as Steven shares with Dale his real estate journey. He started in college and has since expanded his people database from 2,000 to 20,000! Today, Steven is more focused on his personal goals with his family. If you want to learn how to free up more time, you’d want to listen to this episode. Tune in!

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How A Community Management Entity Gives You More Freedom With Steven Bond

Networking, meeting people and constantly learning is key to growing yourself, your business and your career. One of my former real estate sales coaches told me that, “You are one relationship away from having your business exploded.” I took that to heart as it gave me the mindset shift to surround myself with folks that were bigger thinkers and folks with great networks that I could add value to and vice versa to mine.

This episode is not about networking, just bringing that up because you never know where you’re going to meet cool, interesting people that could help you along the way somehow. Always be networking. That segues me to our guest. Our guest is Steve Bond and I met him in August 2021 when he was doing this event called 29029 at Snowbasin Resort in Utah.

Snowbasin Resort is about one hour away from Salt Lake City. This event pushes you to both your mental and physical limits. It was like a Mount Everest size hike without having to go into Mount Everest. The base of the mountain is about 6,400 feet above sea level and we hiked to the top of the mountain which is a little over two miles to get to the top.

Once you get to the top, you take the gondola down and repeat this again and again a total of thirteen times. It covers close to 30,000 vertical feet and 30 miles. Here’s a pro networking tip. If you want to meet cool people, you go to crazy events like 29029. It’s not a prereq to get into real estate but apparently, you can meet people in real estate by going to these types of events.

Being that I’m from San Francisco Bay Area, I don’t have to deal with a lot of high altitudes. This event had thin air and it was difficult for me. I had asthma as a kid, I eventually grew out of it but apparently for me, it comes back when doing strenuous activities at high altitudes. For this event, I bought a pair of hiking poles that I have never used and I didn’t think I was going to need them for the initial ascents. I met Steve on my first ascent up the mountain and he saw that I didn’t have any hiking poles for supporting myself and that I was struggling and I had strained breathing.

Do you know what he did? He let me borrow two of the hiking poles that he had and I will never forget that. He didn’t have to do that for me but he still did. To me, that says a lot about his character. Again, I didn’t think I needed hiking pools until later on but I was wrong. Lesson learned there. I appreciate that Steve stayed with me from that first ascent.

As I was getting acclimated to the thin air, we started talking during the hike. I found out that he was in real estate, too, doing great things in it. We knew some of the same folks so I asked Steve during that event to be in my show and here we are. A little bit more info on Steve, sorry for that long backstory, everybody. I wanted to make that connection.

Steve’s been in the real estate business since January 2007 and he started his career as a real estate agent. At the same time, he started as full-time student at Brigham Young University. At the time, he had 2 of his now 5 children and Steven’s goal all along was to become an accomplished real estate investor and developer. Even before Steven got into the career of real estate, he was focused on investing, vowing to never pay rent and always be an owner.

Be very selective about what you place yourself into and who you get in relationships with. Share on X

His first purchase was a mobile home because that was simply all he could afford at the time with the help of his generous father-in-law who helped him finance it. When he started his career in real estate, the goal was to acquire at least one property year to add the portfolio. The goals snowballed into a portfolio of over $50 million and over 100 doors. He co-founded a company called Fourplex Investment Group, also known as FIG in 2012. He built it with his partners into multi-state development, building, property and community management entity. In 2019, Steve transferred that ownership for a consulting role to focus more on personal goals with his family and his own development desires. Steve, without further ado, let’s just jump into this. How are you?

I’m good. I’m happy to be on this show and it’s so fun to see you. You’re comfortable, relaxed and you’re breathing just fine.

That’s because I’m at sea level this time. I feel like these shows now have replaced for me in-person coffee meetings. Shows are the new coffee meetings for me. I’m drinking coffee with you. Can you give my readers anymore background you want to give and what your focus is right now?

My focus right now is a little different. I’m honestly trying hard to keep my personality at bay and try and do a little bit less every single day. I’m not doing so good at it. When you start to get the rhythm of growth and real estate, at the beginning, it’s like, “When am I ever going to find a deal?” and finding the deal becomes big stress and then it’s, “How am I going to find money?” Maybe those trade back and forth. You are first looking for money or you are first looking for a deal.

The reality is you’re looking for everything. It’s stressful, it’s overwhelming as you’re trying to find opportunity and put the cash and the opportunity together, the people together. This snowballs and gets to a point where now everyone’s coming to you with the deals or wanting to throw money at you to do deals.

You’re back to trying to say, “I want my time.” I got into this to get time and space. I’m in this transition right now where I’m trying to be very selective about what I place myself into and who I get in relationships with. Not because I don’t want to get to know people but I’ve got five people at home that I want to get to know. Those kids and a wife and I’m trying to create that space to be far more present there. That’s my current objective. Now, I am actively pursuing real estate deals and actively engaged in multiple transactions developments and a couple of acquisitions as we speak but I’m trying to slow it down.

I know you’re based in Utah but whereabouts in Utah?

I live in Springville. My offices are in downtown Provo.

I don’t think you originally were from Utah.

That’s correct. I’m born and raised in Mesa, Arizona, right on the border of Tempe. Graduating class of ‘99 at Westwood High School for those readers out of Arizona. I served a mission for my church. An LDS mission in London. I met my wife there. She’s from Seattle. I got married. 2002, we lived in St. George. From there we ventured off to Gig Harbor, Washington with the job I had at the time and then moved to Utah after that. Entered 2006 and moved to Utah to attend BYU. At that point, I wanted to go from Corporate America into entrepreneurship in real estate.

Did you know you wanted to get into real estate already right away? I know that you’re a realtor. What was that like? You got into real estate even in the sales aspect while you were attending college.

SCF 13 | Community Management Entity

Community Management Entity: Keep selling more homes, find more opportunities, and make different relationships.

 

Even before I started college, the same week, my license came in the mail. When I was going to college, I knew I was going to be a full-time real estate professional at the time and had two kids. A little different, I wasn’t an 18-year-old, fresh out of high school. I was, at that point, 23, 24 when I started college. I was a little older. Even before that, when I was in my late teens, I knew I wanted real estate as a part of what I did whether I was going to have a career and invest in real estate or become a real estate investor developer.

Real estate has always very much intrigued me. It’s fascinating. I love the fact that you can touch it, that you can impact it. You invest in stocks and nothing against people who invest in stocks, it’s awesome. All of you management teams and employees and visionaries in your company figure out how to make it awesome. Hopefully, you do a good job. In real estate, you’re getting your hands dirty and you’re involved in the thought process. Sometimes the physical side of it and I like that tangible experience of being able to manipulate and shift and mold an investment into the potential that it has.

I love the fact that you’re able to even start the real estate sales tour first while you were in college. How did you do that even when you’re in college, while you’re managing school at the same time, while you were building a sales team?

It takes work ethic. You are disciplined. If you want something bad enough, anything in life, you’re willing to do what it takes to do it. It was Abraham, a question he gets all the time is, “How do you maintain balance?” These are people who want things that are big, simply don’t have balance. You can’t train for a marathon and be balanced. The reality is the training regimen it requires is going to throw life out of balance for a little while because you have this big goal consuming you.

At the same time, how did I do it? I simply slept 2 to 4 hours a night for about 3, 4 years. I would get up at between 2:00 and 4:00 in the morning and start studying because no one would call me at that time. During my classes, I was messaging clients, setting appointments and reviewing property analysis. I was trying to multitask. I hired tutors so I could expedite the learning process. It was little sleep and I worked every single hour that I was awake to try and build the business.

When you started in that sales business, it was probably around the time when the market started crashing too. Am I right?

Exactly. In Utah, we were about 12 to 18 months behind the markets around us. Utah, several years ago, was a shadow market. It wasn’t a primary market. It tended to react to the bigger markets around us. Utah has grown so much in the last several years that it’s becoming its own kind of force in the market as a whole, where it does not have as much of a shadow response to what’s going on. However, as California and Nevada, as they were crumbling, Utah was looking at that and starting to show the sign. At the end of 2007 into 2008, when they announced the AIG failure, that’s when Utah started to see the collapse.

I’m curious because of the time when you started your real estate sales career, how did you grow it during that down-market? You did not have a lot of things working for you but you still need to push forward.

It was terrifying. Look at the face of this market. I’ll never forget the day I was sitting in my office. I had my textbooks next to me. I knew what kind of homework assignments I had ahead of me to keep up with my studies. I was a full-time student. I wasn’t just part-time. I was full-time going after it, I’m watching the news on my computer and it was saying, “AIG failed today.” You know how the news reports things. It’s never like, “Here are the facts of it.” It’s very sensationalized and it was, “What next?” If this man can fail and this organization can fail then this can fail.

It was this domino that I was looking at it and I remember staring at my computer and it was this look in the mirror moment where I go, “If you’re in this, you got to figure it out. If you’re going to leave, now is the time.” I had to self-talk through that. At that point, I sold 30 homes my first year. This was up in the second year I was on track for over 50 homes sold. I could see that I was going to have to shift. I couldn’t do business the same way that I was because people’s mindsets were shifting so much so quickly, it became scary to be in real estate.

Keep figuring out the process as you go. Share on X

Also, it became very hurtful. A lot of families that were excited about this home ownership were seeing fewer jobs and an entirely different financial situation surrounding them where the conversation changed. I simply started to adapt all of my systems and process and mindset around what it meant to be in real estate. I did it quicker than a lot of people or figured it out. With some strokes of luck, it kept growing. I’ve never had a year that was less than the year before, throughout that as the market fell apart. I kept on selling more homes, finding more opportunities and making different relationships with people that continue to help it grow.

You’re very resourceful and you’re always reinventing yourself and figuring out where you could add value, which I admire. Did you start investing in real estate even before you became a realtor? When did that happen?

As far as becoming a landlord or doing a flip, no. I bought and sold my own homes through a realtor. I bought the mobile home, sold the mobile home, bought a townhome, sold the townhome, bought a home in Gig Harbor, Washington, sold that home. During that time, strokes of luck, the market was flying. I was in the flow of a good market. I count my blessings on that. Some of that’s luck. I didn’t know enough to study a market at that time. I just knew real estate was cool. The fact that I was in and out of that many deals within a pretty short period of time and one each time was a huge catalyst that built confidence. Sometimes that’s a little ignorant confidence. However, it worked.

As I saw the market collapsing around me, that’s where the confidence turned into saying, “There’s power here but that power has another side that I need to dig into and understand, get the analytics and how the appropriate kind of leverage works and how to create cashflow in these situations.” I started to see the ability to purchase inventory in this market is even better. I started buying as the market was going down because cash flow got bigger.

As you were teaching yourself and learning more about the real estate investing side of things for you to be an investor yourself, what were some of the resources back then? Where did you get information? How did you do that?

A lot of different ways. For a while, I was a big Dave Ramsey fan. Dave Ramsey has a sliver of the market that he appeals to. I don’t necessarily think he is appealing to a savvy investor. He’s appealing to the average American that needs to figure out that money has power and you can totally sink yourself if you don’t use it right. That’s his audience. I started there. It helped me understand debt and responsible debt. That’s where I started on it.

I shifted from there to go to a different mindset and way of thinking where I was actually working with investors and seeing opportunities. I don’t know if there was necessarily anyone in particular, honestly but I started to see those stabilized assets. Not speculation assets of fix and flips but buying stable cashflow assets was where I was intrigued by that.

I started to listen to people Mark Kohler and Tom Wheelwright and Robert Kiyosaki as they talk about appropriate leverage and The Real Estate Guys Radio Show. Those kinds of minds that talk about real estate from a much more powerful long-term play, cash flow, tax preservation, wealth strategies, growth. The fix and flip game, honestly, has never appealed to me. It seems like far too much liability, risk, headache for my mindset to want to do it. Plus, you got to pay a lot of taxes when you do it. I liked the long play in real estate much more.

I’m curious to hear more about how you were able to transition from being a realtor and then how you started thinking about forming that FIG. How did that happen? How did you start thinking about starting that company? Tell me about what the model was and what kind of investments you were doing.

That evolution has happened because I never found myself to be too important to not be unemployed in the position I currently held. In other words, when I was in real estate as a real estate agent, I had no problem saying, “Let me grow this to a point where I can’t handle it and then pass a baton to buyer’s agents.” I don’t need to feel like I have to be the person showing every home. When a client was upset in the beginning, like, “I want to work with you.” I’d say, “Thank you. That means so much to me. At this moment in time, working with new means working with this person. I’m excited for us to help you.” I had no problem growing to a point where I could pass a baton and make less on each individual transaction.

In other words, not get greedy and so commission-hungry. I was trying to grow something bigger than just commission and individual commissions. I passed on with buyer’s agents then got listing agents so that I could make the space to focus on investments. I was referred to this builder during the market collapse. He had honestly been tanked. Our relationship started when he was in a pretty bad place because of the market, with a lot of big spec homes that he had to eat. He’s one of the smartest guys I know. He’s genius in his approach to real estate and in solving problems. I got introduced to help sell some of his inventory that he had been holding on to and been sitting on trying to figure out a way to sell. We sold through it quickly and he’s like, “This relationship works.”

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Community Management Entity: You don’t have to be the person showing every home.

 

We did a development together. I was his agent. We had single-family homes. He did five of them. Again, we’re able to strategically put lenders together and sell those back in 2009 and 2010. We were rolling into 2011 and we sat down and he said, “I want to do fourplexes” I was “That’s fantastic because the market wants stability and I’ve got clients who would put their cash there.”

“There’s money sitting on the sidelines in the markets like this but they don’t want speculation. It’s too scary. Stable assets, they want. Renters need to live there. We’re in a good economy as far as people wanting to come here and live here.” He went back and did some homework. He found this genius way to not just build a fourplex but to put it in a community, have it as a planned unit development where there’s an HOA that manages this community.

Now, an investor buys a fourplex, the neighbor can’t be a slum lord. It’s going to be preserved with this HOA in a community where when the roofs need to be replaced can happen. When the yard needs to be maintained, there’s already someone there scheduled to come next Friday. It’s a process that keeps a community and preserves that asset for cash flow.

We have this first project that we put together and he came to me with the title to his Jeep because it’s all he had. He said, “Steve, will you give me $15,000 for the titles of my Jeep? I can take that $15,000 so this hard money lender will trust me if I have skin in the game to give us the loan to buy this dirt.” That was the very first transaction we did for five acres of FBIC ground with a hard money loan from me to him on a title to a Jeep and another hard money loan to buy the land. We sold out in 30 days.

It sounds like you pre-sold. I take it, were you leveraging on your existing database of real estate clients? Tell me more about that. Your real estate clients then became clients that bought some of these big investments and whatnot. How were you able to have that discussion from them being a real estate client to them investing with you?

For the realtors that read this, you don’t realize the power that you have in a database of clients. These are good people that trusted you. They’re moving up in society. They want to have home ownership as part of their portfolio. Many of them are interested in putting any extra that they have saved to work and they like real estate already. They’re already homeowners. They are already are of like mindset.

I didn’t realize that I had so many investors in my database at the beginning because the reality was the most investor calls I got as an agent with people that wanted to lowball. They were wholesalers. That’s fine but they weren’t buy and hold investors. It was people that wanted to lowball. All I did was do the analysis. My email blurbs out to my clients were, “If you have X amount of cash, would you rather put it in the market at a rough return of X?” At the time, I would look up the market index and see what the market return was. “Would you rather have real estate that could grow at Y?”

I would show them how with the four pillars of real estate cash flow, depreciation and write-offs, equity growth, how you would put those together and what that would yield over a ten-year horizon. I would show the stock market, real estate, ten years. “If you have questions, give me a call.” Super simple emails broken down, sent out to my database. At that point, I had about 2,500 people in my database. Now we’re closer to 20,000. In 30 days, we sold out nine fourplexes, represented every person on the buy side and the sell side. The reality is people see that email and they’re like, “Yes, I want to do that.” They just don’t know how.

You’re building a lot of fourplexes. You fit a unique niche in the market for that. Being a brand new construction, fourplexes. In all the homes you’re building nice communities. Why would somebody pick one of those up versus a bigger, multifamily out of curiosity, when the investors have other options?

A lot of our clients have already heard about syndications. Some of them are even invested in syndications where they’re a limited partner on the fund. They’d helped raise their part of the cash equation to an apartment complex. They’d like that because the same principles of FIG, managed people know what they’re doing, typically knows the whole community. It’s a preserved asset that’s managed professionally with a goal in mind.

You have to inspect what you expect. Share on X

However, those investors on syndications don’t have the simple rights. They can’t refinance it on their own accord. They can’t sell it on their own accord. The benefits of FIG or someone that says, “I can either put $150,000 to $250,000 into a syndication. I can own this fourplex in a managed community.” It’s a turnkey investment.

If I want to refinance it, I call the lender and refinance it on my own right. I’d depreciate everything off directly. I don’t give up a management or sponsor fee to another group. I just pay a management fee. If I want to sell it, I get all of the equity and I can do what I want to do. I can time my exchanges based on a little closer, upfront control of the asset. It’s for the person who doesn’t necessarily want to be a landlord but does want to be a couple more steps closer to their investment in a managed asset.

They’d have more control obviously by buying one of those properties versus doing syndication and whatnot. You became a developer. What were the types of challenges from having been a realtor to becoming a developer? What challenges did you face there that were new to you since you were entering that new space?

My role was over the marketing side, the branding analysis. My partner was still overall operations of how do you take mounds of dirt and attractive land, get a city to approve a project, develop it, go up with it vertical. My partner did that. I was over the analysis of like, “What floor plan does our market in that location need to yield the best ROI of cost per square foot? Is it a two-bedroom that’s in the most fierce supply right now so it’ll yield the best return or is it a three-bedroom? How can we fit that onto the project?” He and I would collaborate, talk through that, run a pro forma on the project as a whole then decide what the product layout would be for the community.

I didn’t necessarily do the horizontal and the vertical development but I was part of the process to see how that would be monetized in the most efficient way for him as the builder, developer. Our clients, as an investor. The community as a whole. That was my side of the analysis in the process. We would market it, sell it. The client relations, there are always problems making sure that those clients are taken care of and the questions are answered.

I love the fact that you guys had those complementary skillsets. Who would have thought that one of your clients would end up becoming one of those closes business partners to do this? You guys had a great relationship going on and building it. When you first started out, FIG was mainly building around Utah. I know you expanded to other areas. How did you manage that? It sounds like you built other teams elsewhere.

What happened is, originally, FIG wasn’t a name at all. It was just a development idea, started selling fourplexes. When we did our 2nd and 3rd project, I’m driving down the road one day thinking, “We have a company here. I’m no longer just an agent. Things are happening. I should probably build a brand around this.” I’m driving down the road in my F-150 and thinking, “What are the acronyms? We’re doing fourplexes. Fourplex, Investments, it’s a Group, FIG. Cool. I’ll see if the domain is available.” That’s as sophisticated as the business creation was.

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Community Management Entity: It’s a process that keeps a community and preserves the asset for cash flow.

 

We built websites, pro formas and all that. You can go to FIG.us and see what it’s become. How we grew out of state was another. Where just entrepreneurs. What it came down to was my partner, Mike, had a buddy lived in Houston. He was going on a cruise. He went out in Galveston which isn’t too far from Houston. He went and visited his buddy. His buddy was an engineer at the time and said, “I want to help do what you’re doing here. Could we look at some land? I lined up a broker down there that had been referring business to me over the years,” because he had a lot of connections in Utah and I said, “Do you do land down there?” He said, “Yeah.”

He lined up. They did a tour. Mike went out on his cruise and they put that land under contract. That was our first big project in Houston. Both of us, terrifyingly so in the past, a lot less now. Whereas the opinion, if you are shooting a bullet, you shoot then you get ready and then you aim. Which is a terrifying way to handle a weapon. We were handling this business like this weapon where it’s like, “We can do that. Let’s put it under contract. We’ll figure it out as we go.” Luckily, we kept figuring it out as we went. Now there’s more of a strategic process before land is even put up under a contract. That’s how it started, going out on the land, putting it under contract saying, “If we can do it here, we can do it there.”

We did it in Houston. We had a sales agent that was interested in the Boise market. He did the due diligence out there and help us find some land, expanded operations to Boise. I’m from Arizona and we had a lot of connections in Arizona. We love the Arizona market. At this point, once we had been in Boise, we started to identify a strategical goal, what markets make the most sense where our clients have an appetite already there. The market has an appetite for this inventory there. There’s the right employment growth, there’s vacancy rate, there’s the right rent to ownership ratio, the income can support new rentals.

We had to look at all of the spread of key indicators that say, “This could make sense.” We identified what those markets were and started doing trips, going meeting brokers and seeking out land opportunities, assembling construction team partnerships that would be able to facilitate the growth. That’s what helped us grow into Idaho and Arizona after we were already in Houston and Utah.

I know that you’re no longer connected and that you sold your interest in it. I’m curious as to what did you get out of that experience of starting FIG. Did you learn anything new or something from that entire experience that you think you could share with our audience?

Many lessons. As far as running an organization and building a team, you’ve got to trust that people have an honest desire to be awesome and to do great things. Hold them accountable to do it because people do want to do great things and are capable of doing incredible things of selling out developments, hundreds of units before we even own the dirt. Have a sales team that you can trust to do that before we’ve acquired the dirt and can have the kind of client relationship.

There’s that much trust and asset to say, “I’ll put a deposit and I want to go there.” A construction team to facilitate that whole process of getting hundreds of units built within a very constrained timeframe to meet a contractual deadline. Assembling a team of trust. The owner of Oakwood Homes has a phrase that he says, “You have to inspect what you expect.” From an ownership group or from the management side, you can have high expectations but if you’re not willing to do the due diligence to follow through and look at those expectations then the fulfillment of them then you’re going to miss the mark.

The last lesson is don’t listen to what you want to hear. Look for the news that you don’t want to hear so that you can address the problems that are happening. There are always problems. Second, there are no problems, we’re just simply not being honest with ourselves about the opportunities that are in our business or in the organization or thought processes we have. Look for the problem, celebrate the victories of the good but look for the opportunities to continue to get better.

Have the patience and the spine to be a little bolder at times. Share on X

You hit your amazing goal. You wanted to get a property or so a year. You amassed over 100 doors so quickly. I’m so curious, what was that progression like? How were you able to scale up so quickly becoming a real estate investor?

I had a pretty good income to help with that along the way because of the things that we were building. That helped to save up down payments faster. Real estate has this neat attribute about it of arbitrage. It is a snowball within itself. Once I got to the point where I had enough inventory, it’s self-sustained all my down payments essentially, where new income now was like lighter fluid on a fire. The fire was there and new income was on top to make it explode. It was putting the real estate first and not trying to live extravagant, I don’t drive a Rolls-Royce and have gluttonous expenses that live a lifestyle, maybe as big as I could.

I feel like putting cash and being responsible for it to let it grow is important to me. I kept putting my money back into the inventory of what we were developing. Some of my compensation, as an ownership group, is dedicated to saying, “Instead of us taking a distribution here of cash, let’s take a distribution of inventory and delay the satisfaction of cash in the bank with inventory instead.” That helped grow that faster.

What has been the biggest win in your real estate investing journey far?

My post FIG life was pretty awesome. We have an apartment complex, 56 units here in Provo, Utah. I had met with a couple of the agents in my brokerage and said, “I don’t have the desire to do this. If I was starting completely over from scratch today in real estate, I would do a leapfrog over about seven years of the business that I did and just jump to years 7, 8 and go straight to multifamily. I’d become the biggest advocate for the multifamily owners, developers, investors, lenders throughout the state. Everyone would know that if they had a question about multifamily, I can help them and I would want to help them.”

Start sending out mailers to all of them and create events around adding value to their experience. Do not be greedy about getting a commission. Simply be the person that will help them position their assets for the best scenario whether they learn how to refinance, they learn how to do their own capital improvements or they sell in 1031 exchange or be an ally for the multifamily space.

A couple of agents went with that, started sending out mailers to people. I said, “Go do that but one caveat, if someone wants to sell, you go to me first because I want to be the buyer.” They sent out these mailers and every opportunity they had where someone raises their hand and said, “I want to talk about possibly selling,” I would have first looks. I found this 56 off-market unit apartment complex. We negotiated it. This thing called COVID happened. Honestly, I didn’t know how that was going to affect the market, exactly. All of us were in the flux of what does this mean. The repercussions have been different than what we have even expected even during it.

SCF 13 | Community Management Entity

Community Management Entity: Build a brand around your business.

 

We got a pretty good price on it because of that. We paid $5.8 million for it. We put $2.25 million into renovations. It was fully leased up within 30 days of completion of every single unit. We got an unsolicited offer at $15 million on it from a good group we know is an active, very good qualified buyer. We said, “Thank you but no, thank you.”

On the flip side, what’s the biggest mistake you have made in real estate so far?

The biggest mistake I’ve made was not starting when I was younger. The only thing I’ve ever regretted, I’ve never regretted buying real estate. I’ve only regretted selling. When I thought, “That’s a little too much of a stretch.” I could do it but if I sell them, I’ll feel better to sell and then buy and I look at what the asset growth would have been. If I would’ve kept and creatively found a way to buy the next one, I would have a better-looking portfolio and balance sheet now than I have, had I just had the patience and also, a spine to be a little bolder at times.

I wish I started a decade earlier myself in this buying real estate. It’s one of those things you buy real estate and wait and it will do wonders for you. What advice would you give to newer aspiring real estate investors?

It goes along with what we talked about. Take action. Don’t sit and talk about being an investor for so long. Anyone reading can buy something in the next week. There’s no reason that they can’t buy something in the next week but they have to think a little more creatively. Maybe they go to two more of your investors that are reading or current clients of yours and you put three people together just so they can get off of the sidelines, into the game and buy. I know people are starting to get scared when it’s at the top of the market in some markets because we’ve had tremendous growth. Maybe they’re right but the people who bought in 2006 and 2007 when the market was at this all-time freaky peak.

The reality of it was, is that had really scary key indicators that made it that way. It was sloppy financing. There was a lot of greed and craziness going to fuel that market compared to what’s fueled this market with very solid fundamentals. Great job growth. People are occupying the homes that they’re buying now. We don’t have rows of spec homes that are funded by people that put zero down as we did back then. It’s good indicators.

If the market goes down, take a deep breath, have a savings account and hold that asset through the downturn. You’ll be fine. Real estate was well over time. It always was. Do not look ten feet in front of you when you’re in the real estate game. Look at a longer horizon, be patient but get in the game so that several years from now, you can look back, look at what you created and be super proud of it.

What’s next in store for you? Any upcoming goals that you’re working on?

Besides trying to slow down, I am working on several buildings in downtown Provo. I’ve got one building in escrow right now. A second, it might be soon. All offices are mixed-use spaces. I’ve got another mixed-use entertainment venues/new offices for us. It has a restaurant and another retail space. Another one that has mixed-use residential over commercial. A lot of them are in full construction right now. They’re being gutted, renovated. We’re trying to preserve the old building.

This is a building I bought in 2015, where our offices are, it’s raw. It’s exposed ceilings, it’s an old 120-year-old building. I love those historic buildings. They’re gnarly to work on but they’re so much fun. The personality in them and the life that they breathe, the stories they tell on the walls. They’re a blast.

What does success mean to you?

What it comes down to is what you value and people have different value structures. I value my faith, my family and me being the most at what I can be. If I’m figuring out those three things then I’m successful. If you notice, I didn’t say I value my balance sheet. I don’t value the car I drive. I have one and I value it because I have it. The reality is if I start to put my identity in front of those things instead of my face, my family and me being the most that I can be in a career, your ego gets too big and you get disillusioned to what success is. I’m trying to figure out those three right now and failing at it some of the times and trying better at it all the time.

Getting a little bit, keep failing forward. You’ll get better each time. What would you say is your unique ability, your superpower that’s contributed to your success?

According to my wife, I am the eternal optimist. I don’t get down on problems. I hear them, I get stressed about them like anyone else but I love figuring them out. I always see opportunity. Any failure and a super big challenge that comes, we’ll figure it out, I’ll look back on it and be still accomplished at figuring it out. It’s the willingness to be out of my comfort zone and to be optimistic about that.

Solving problems is where the money’s at so I’m always looking for the problems with myself. Last question, how can somebody get ahold of you?

Always see the opportunity in any failure. Share on X

You have my email address. We can close that. Steve@CapitalAdvisorsRE.com is the best way. I’m not too hot on social media and I don’t have a website anymore. I’m not out marketing myself. The email is great.

That’s all the time that we have. Thanks, Steve, for joining me on this episode. I appreciate you and all that you do. To my readers, thanks for checking out this episode. Remember to leave me a review on iTunes as it helps me attract even more guests. Until then, live life abundantly.

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