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Global Investors Podcast
GI72: The New Normal; Investing in the COVID Age with Ben Suttles
November 4, 2020
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Ben has been an entrepreneur for 15 years, first starting his career in IT sales and business development then onto management. His background in management and sales has helped him propel into commercial real estate, first starting in 2013.

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Transcript:

Announcer:
Welcome to the Global Investors Podcast, a show that focuses on helping foreign investors enter the lucrative US real estate market. Host, Charles Carillo, combined decades of real estate investing experience with a professional background in international banking to interview experts in all areas of US real estate investing. Now here’s your host, Charles Carillo.

Charles:
Welcome to another episode of the Global Investors Podcast; I’m your host Charles Carillo. Today we have Ben Suttles. Ben started his career in IT sales and business development and in 2013 started investing in commercial real estate. Since then he has been involved in the acquisition of over 1650 units, valued over $100 million. So thank you so much for being on the show. Ben,

Ben:
Thanks Charles. I appreciate it, man.

Charles:
So what was your professional background prior to getting involved in multifamily and commercial real estate in 2013?

Ben:
So like the intro said right out, I was, I was the sales guy, you know, you find a lot of people on our business that are in it, you know, and always called to say, Hey, those are kind of the smarter folks. Those are the programmers. Those are the developers. Those are, you know, the people that are actually putting the products together. I was the guy that kind of came into the board room and told everybody how much stuff costs and what color you could get it in. So you know, but networking and going to conferences and, you know doing that type of thing, you know, pitching people was kind of my career, you know? And so it was a really easy transition into kind of commercial real estate and syndication where you have to do a lot of that stuff right. Where you’re doing a lot of networking, you’re pitching a lot of people you’re going to events, you’re passing out business cards. And so it was like I said, it was an easy transition for me. And you know, now it’s just a different product. Right. You know, I’m selling the, the, the opportunities right. Of the syndication that we’re the, the projects that we’re doing. So, but yeah, no, I did that up until is, I mean, like everybody does that, you kind of do a dual track there. I did that for about 15 years you know, and learned a lot. You know, and we’ve also me and my business partner cause he’s from my, these on the it side too. We’ve introduced a lot of technology into our business and the way that we do things, just because we had that background and we knew about all this different technology and software that you could use to, you know, make things more efficient, be more productive, you know, streamline processes that might be, you know a little bit laborious for some folks. And so it actually the, you know, the background and all the experience that I got from there really, really helped create what I’m doing now. So it was, it was a good experience.

Charles:
So why did you choose real estate as your investment vehicle when he started,

Ben:
You know, I think it was one of those things that I was always interested in and, you know, it was back so 2012, you know, my wife was pregnant with my daughter. Uyou obviously have nine months. You can only, you can only redo the baby or do the baby’s room once and you can only clean the house so many times. So I was reading a lot,uyou know, and I was listening to a lot of podcasts as well. UI was kind of looking for, you know, I would say, not like a side hustle, but you know, just another revenue stream, right. Because I’m in sales, right. You got commissions, you know, things are kind of, they fluctuate depending on, you know, where we’re at in the market and you know, what stuff I have my pipeline. So I was looking for something that kind of supplement that a little bit. And I came across rich dad, poor dad. So I’m sure as a lot of your listeners probably read that book, heard about Robert Kiyosaki. And you know, w what I would say is that it’s kind of light on how to do real estate, but it’s very, very heavy on kind of mindset and getting you, you know, pumped up about the potential of real estate. And so I knew at that point, like I said, a light bulb just kind of went off in my mind. I was like, I’m going to do this. And so you know, kinda made that, took that plunge you know, invested in all the gurus and all the classes that you can learn a bunch of stuff. And, you know it’s made me a better, better syndicator along the way.

Charles:
So, so, yeah. Tell us about your first real estate investment. What type of property, what happened, what went wrong, what went right?

Ben:
So there’s a lot that went wrong there. None, none of them are even, even now, right. You know, there’s always challenges, you know, we underwrite very conservatively because we know that there’s going to be hiccups, right. That there’s going to be things that you can’t control. Now, we try to control everything that we can, but the problem with the, these seventies, eighties, even nineties assets, is that you’re going to have stuff that’s going to break down some of this stuff’s getting up against its useful life. Right. And it was, no, it was no different on my first deal, but to kind of, you know, keep it real short. I was, you know, I’d kind of gone through all the trainings, spend all the money, you know, and that you really get you kind of hyped up about buying a deal, but I wasn’t, I wasn’t getting any traction. Right. So, you know, I took a different approach and I said, I started approaching people that were doing deals to say, Hey, you know, do you have anything that maybe, you know, you had passed on that? I could just take, take a look at it. I’m just trying to underwrite and kind of fine tune that skill. Right. Which was I’m I’m good around the spreadsheet, but I wasn’t great. So I wanted to learn more about the numbers and the underwriting piece of the business. And of course, people are happy to do that stuff that they lost or whatever. So they’re like, yeah, take a look at those fields. Right. as long as you’re not competing against them you know, and so this one gentlemen, we’re, we’re based in Houston and this other guy was too,uhe’s like, yeah, take a look at this one deal. I think it was called Huntington park. It was a little 92 unit property in Beaumont, Beaumont, 90 miles East of Houston on [inaudible]. And you know, a little sleepy tat I’d known about Beaumont. You drive through it on your way to new Orleans from Houston. But never thought about it as a place to invest. Right. I was always looking in Houston and he’s like, you know, Hey, I’ve got some assets out here, but this one just doesn’t fit our model. So I looking at it and it was, you know, longterm owner, local broker that didn’t know what he was doing, did not a price, anything. And ultimately the financials were not recasted or anything, you know, everything was just as it was. So it wasn’t a PDF, some stuff was handwritten in, you know, and, and as a syndicator, anybody that knows, if you start seeing those, you’re like, okay, how can we make this one work? And so, you know, I really dug in deep on that one. Right. Because then you’re not doing anything else. So I had a lot of time to dig into things. Umo I started getting quotes on this and, you know, recasting this and all this stuff. And before I know it, the deal actually looked really, really good. And so they wanted 3 million for it. Umfter I’d done all my adjustments, the NOI was 300,000, so that’s a 10 gap, you know, and this was back in 2015. So, you know, even back then, even in Beaumont, which is a, a secondary market, you’re not buying 10 caps. Right. And so I went back to Mike, who was the guy that had showed. I was like, did you actually look at this deal? And he’s like, well, yeah, I kind of looked at it for like, you know, five seconds. And he just passed on it, just, you know, but that’s, you know, sometimes you’re not, you’re not, you don’t have enough time to dig into it when you’re doing deals. So I went through my numbers, he picked it apart, ask questions, did his own underwriting. And then he came back to me, he’s like, yeah, we got something here. What do you want to do? I said, why don’t we partner? And he’s like, well, how do you want to split this? And I was like, well, what about 50 50? I was like, okay, let’s do it. So, I mean, at this point, Mike had 2000 units. He has a nice balance sheet, net worth all the stuff that the bank likes to see, you know, I had the hustle, you know and putting all the deals together and raising all the money. So you know, ultimately got very advantageous terms on the, on the contract as well. And we, we ultimately ended up buying it. But the one challenge that we did have on that deal for one, one challenge was Mike was never around. So I had to learn a lot of this stuff the hard way. Um,e other challenges that we had hurricane Harvey that blew through this part of the country in 2017 and a third of Huntington park flooded. Now, luckily we had flood insurance on the deal and, u,u know, on an $8,200 a year policy, they paid out 2.1 million. So we were able to more than, you know, u,ing the units back online and update the property and we released it back up. But if we didn’t have that flood insurance, it would have been a different story. I probably wouldn’t be talking to you today because, you know, I would’ve lost a property and there wouldn’t have been any more properties after that. So that’s the power of insurance. I always tell people, make sure you have insurance, if you’re along the coast and you know, this you’re in Florida, right? We have hurricane stuff happens, make sure that you have the proper insurance because you just never know when you’re going to need it. And in this case it was definitely needed because I mean, you would have had, we would have had to come out of pocket the 2 million, or you just give the property back and then you lose everybody’s money. So it would have been a bad situation. So, but learned a lot along the way, because I was having to do a lot of it on my own learn the right way to do some things learned a lot of wrong ways, not to do things to you know, but it was ultimately at the end of the day, we ended up selling that deal for 365% return to our investors. So it was a, it was a home run deal at the end of the day. But it was really, you know, where they say you make money when you buy. That was really the case there. You know, I bought that at 32 a door, I sold it for 76 a door. So you know, you just, if you buy right, you you’re going to stumble into equity at that point.

Charles:
Yeah. Yeah. A couple of things I just wanted to bring up, like you were only paying less than a hundred dollars a year per unit for that flood insurance. And I mean, the wave of difference that it made literally because we look at deals here and even if they’re closed, they’re not in the plane and they’re much less expensive. It’s always, always smart to get that flood insurance. And the other thing too, is that I always think a, is a great idea, as well as you’re dealing with a broker at that time, that was less savvy with the, or with the property that you’re looking at. And someone obviously gave him them property to try and save on commission. And the person has no idea what they’re doing and yeah, no buyer list.

Ben:
They had no buyers. The only reason that that, that Mike even found out about it is because the guy found out that Mike owned properties in the area and he was just picking up the phone and calling just local people. And that’s how Mike stumbled across it. But he’s not like an ARA or any of these bigger firms that have thousands and thousands of people on their buyer’s list. So that was to our benefit. Right?

Charles:
Yeah. The other thing too, with like commercial brokers is I find is if they don’t specialize in that asset class. So if you have someone that sells land or self storage units, Hey, let me know when you have multi-family that comes in and here’s the parameters or anything really. And I’ll take a look at it and they don’t have that buyer’s list. Where are these other, like you said, big guys, they have a mailing list. They, a deal comes in, they send it out to them. And in this market, I mean, it’s selling for anything really.

Ben:
This guy was single family. He did single family homes. So I’m like we, and even to this day, me and fairs by business partner here to disrupt equity. I mean, if we see something like that, where it’s kind of the, it’s an odd mix, like the guy has a, he might be out of California, but he’s trying to broker a deal here in Texas. And he doesn’t have a lot of buyers. Right. I mean, there’s something like that where it’s a little bit off, we always gravitate to those deals because you might get a little bit of a, a price discount. Cause they just don’t know, they don’t either don’t have the buyer pool or they don’t know how to price it correctly. Right. Right. So love those deals.

Charles:
Yeah. So you, you pretty much did everything on that first deal, a little bit of everything. So what is your role at disrupt equity? So currently

Ben:
Really, you know, I kind of gravitate more towards, you know, we all have to raise equity, right. That’s just kind of part of the deal of being a syndicator. So I do do a lot of that and I, I keep up with my investors, but more so I’m on the asset management side of the business. So, you know, I mean, we’ve got in-house asset manager, but I manage him you know, and, and kind of make sure that we’re executing on our business plan and then any one-off stuff that kind of goes along with that, right. From managing the K1 to do a cost segregation and all the other stuff, property, tax protests, all that stuff. I, I manage that process or I, you know, make sure that they’re getting it done. You know, and then ultimately we have several other businesses that, you know cause we’re vertically integrated that both me and Ferris help on as well. And so you know, that, that occupies the rest of my time. So I don’t know if there’s any more hours in the day for me to work to me too much more, but you know, that’s the property management and a couple other things that we do as well. Yeah. So I’m more on the, I’d say more on the operations side, you know not to say that I couldn’t wine and dine the brokers or I couldn’t do more equity raise, but you know, there’s for six months. So at least the last six months, we haven’t done much of that. Right. Because it’s because of COVID. So that’s kind of, you know, we’ve realigned how we do things internally.

Charles:
Awesome. Yeah. It’s just, just having the broker relationships and doing some of the preliminary underwriting is a, is a full-time job as you know, So when you’re reviewing deals, a multi-family acquisition deals one year, is there something that you want to see in a deal that you need to see to move forward? Like maybe a deal, market, a neighborhood?

Ben:
Yeah. Yeah. I mean, ultimately the, the market is probably the first filter, right. Second filter be probably unit count. We usually travel try to stay above 70, 80 units depending on where it’s located at. Like now if it’s in a submarket swanky part of town, newer asset, I might go down from there, but the people always kind of say that. And the reason that people do that is because it makes it more challenging to manage the deal. And so, and we have property management in house and I have to be very aware of, does it make sense for me to deploy resources to manage this deal? Or should I just pass on something? So usually it has to be in the markets that we’re in, which is Texas and in Georgia. And we like Florida as well, where you’re located you know, between Tampa and Jacksonville and Orlando. We’ve kind of since pulled back a little bit cause we’re, you know, just because of COVID I think we’re just trying to kind of focus on the markets that we have the best relationships in and that’s going to be Texas and the Atlanta market. And so you know, those brokers know what we’re looking for. They know the unit counts that we’re kind of trying to take a look at. They know the cap rates that we’re trying to look for when we’re going in on these things and the types of deals, right. Like they know not to send me a deal that’s, you know, some class, a plus plus stuff, you know, in the swankiest part of is this is not the type of deal we look for. Right. We usually look for CNB stuff, seventies, eighties, nineties assets you know, that are tired or mismanaged or, you know, there’s a clear path to executing business plan. I don’t like boarded up deals either. So if I see those, I pass on those almost immediately, but there’s some guys that love that stuff. You know, but that’s just not our, we’re not, that’s not our wheelhouse, I’d say.

Charles:
Yeah. Yeah. It depends on your investors and it depends on your team too for deals.

Ben:
Yeah. Yeah. I mean, you, I mean, we’ve now had having said that I’ve done deals like that right. Where there’s been 30, 40 down units. But that’s the reason why I have no more hair. Right. You know, just that it’s not something that, you know, to keep my stress level down, I try to have a little bit cleaner of a deal, but no, I mean, there’s, there’s guys that I gravitate. That’s all they do. No, no. And so, but yeah, we’re, we’re looking for a little bit nicer assets these days.

Charles:
Okay. So you mentioned COVID, you handle all the, a lot of the management side. So at the you know, where we are at the end of 2020, how has your business changed during COVID in regards to acquisitions as well as asset management?

Ben:
Quite a bit. Right. You know, I mean, it’s certainly slowed down. I mean, there was essentially nothing for about two or three months. And then we started kind of seeing in probably June and July, we started seeing some stuff up and up and then in August, and, and, and even right now in September, when we’re Erin this, or when we’re filming this, there’s been a ton of deals the last couple months. And I think it’s a lot of just pent up supply that people were just holding off until the market was over in a little bit better shape. Uand then they’re just dumping their deals on, on potential buyers. Uyou know, what has changed for us is that, you know, like I said, our, our markets that we’re going to play in have, has shrank, right. We’re trying to be a little bit more targeted. I think the deals that we’re looking at are a little bit nicer too. You know, we’ve noticed that, you know, class C you know especially in this environment is extremely susceptible to job losses. And so, whereas the B and the a minus stuff, you know, is, is kind of coasting along because a lot of those folks are probably gonna be more working professionals going to have the opportunity to work from the house. So therefore they’re not going to lose their job, but people that are in retail services, industries, that type of stuff. I mean, there is no working from home. There’s no doing your job from zoom, right. And so in this cycle, right in this downturn, it’s been different than it wasn’t eight, nine and 10. And I was in business in eight, nine and 10. It was, this is completely different than it was. And so I think a lot of people’s thesis was, you know, kind of stick with this kind of workforce housing stuff. And, you know because the bars and the restaurants and the retail, I mean, even in eight, nine and 10 people were still going out and spending money, doing that type of stuff, especially bars and restaurants. Now when you have a block down, literally these places are not even open. Right. And so, and it puts these people in a really tight spot because they don’t have, you know, the, the savings and the resources to, to, and that’s why it’s so important that, you know, both the administration and Congress come and, you know, help with some kind of relief. Right. not necessarily just for my benefit. Right. I’ll be all right. We’ll figure it out. It’s more so to help those folks kind of get through this downturn. So knowing how all of that, you know, we’ve decided to kind of start looking at a little bit cleaner of assets that we feel might be a little bit more stable in the next few years. So, you know, I think that’s, what’s changed over the last six months.

Charles:
Yeah, yeah, No, I really think I’ve people talk about 2008 and today, and we are, I mean, I own multifamily and Oh six plus and on, and it’s completely different. You can’t cook, you can’t compare eight to COVID, you can’t compare Oh eight to early nineties. You can’t compare it to, you know, interest rates in the early eighties again, country compare it to anything it’s completely different. And it’s like you said, like, Oh, 809, if you owned a bar, you’d probably be killing it. And if you own a par, now it hasn’t been opened.

Ben:
Yeah. I mean, it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s just a different, so it’s, you know, you kind of go back to, you know, just make sure you buy right. Make sure you buy for cashflow and, you know buying good areas. Yeah. Know, I mean, that, that’s still kind of seems true. The class C stuff, I think the other reason that we’re kind of gravitating out of it is not necessarily all come unrelated because we were making this transition pre COVID. Especially here in Texas, there’s just a ton of people doing this stuff. And I think a lot of this stuff is, is tapped out. You can only value add the same property, like three or four times. There’s no more meat left on that boat. So, you know, I mean, you know, maybe, and, and cap rates are so compressed, right. That, you know, you’re buying a class C at 5.5 when maybe you can get a 20 year newer asset at five and a quarter. Right. So kind of look at that, right. You know, is, is, is the, you know, as a risk adjusted rewards there or, or should you just step up and buy a little bit better deal.

Charles:
The, the value add model only works in certain markets where you’re having certain markets in certain market portions of the cycle too. I mean, it has, it’s very difficult. I mean, are you really going to kick out a, you can’t evict anybody now, are you really going to not renew anybody’s lease so that you can go in there and renovate a unit? I mean, that’s a really risky proposition to, to, to take on, but you or your team,

Ben:
People are struggling to keep people in and in the units that are paying, right. Like, so they’re going to be really aggressive on renewals too, just to be able to update that unit. I don’t think so, because you’re not going to, you don’t want to take that bet that you’re going to be able to spin that five to 10 grand a unit, then get able to get in somebody that’s going to pay another 150 bucks per month. Not right now.

Charles:
Yeah. Very risky. And then it’s most, you know, most operators are holding on to cash anyway. Yep. Some of them are even pausing or just delaying some of the payouts to their investors to be even safer. But yeah, like you said, I think it’s gonna be a smaller landlords that are the ones that are going to be really affected because the larger we have had to be before anything ever happened, you can pause, you can go into, you can pause distributions, you can go into your reserves. There’s all different types of things we can do for some of that’s just getting money in their account and then trying to pay pay their mortgage from a five or eight unit property. Those are where the is going to be, especially when they’re going back to refinance it and they find out, Hey, you three units. so this aren’t even paying anymore. Like you can’t even value the property. So now you need a hundred thousand dollars more or $50,000 more just to refinance it. So that’s, I feel that’s going to be, the problem is like always, it’s always a smaller, smaller businesses that are always going to get the brunt of it. But so we were talking before about your career and what you were doing, how did, what you did before real estate, how are you brought some of that, it, some of those systems in place into your current business with Disrupt,

Ben:
You know, I mean, Disrupt is very tech term. Right. And I, and we did that for a reason why we’re trying to kind of do re-imagine the way that the business has kind of done. It was a little bit fractured, you know, a little bit old school, as far as how syndicated the syndication processes has was kind of rolled out, you know, but on top of that, we weren’t the only ones making that, you know, I mean, there’s, there’s things like IMS and some other stuff that has made, you know, the process of syndication, more streamlined through technology. And I think we’ve just adopted a lot of the things that we see in the market in terms of software, right. You know, we use teams, which, you know, has some capabilities similar to Slack, which people might’ve heard of too. We use a sauna in terms of project and task management. You know, we use things at the property management level, right. You know, that help us kind of keep track of unit turns and, you know, keeping people accountable and making sure that things are getting done on time. Right. We’re no longer doing stuff I’m on a whiteboard in the manager’s office. And so, you know, some of those things is we didn’t develop those or create those. We just, you know, because of our background being Ferris’s background, we just knew of things that could help in syndication. Right. And, and just communication with, you know, both partners and our staff, as well as investors. And we’ve just adopted those very, very quickly. And some are good, some are bad, you know, and it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s w the, what I love about our businesses that we can quickly pivot. Right. You know, all this is not working, let’s try something different. Right. So, you know, but yeah, from me personally, like I said, I was a sales salesperson, so that’s helped me quite a bit in investors raising equity and doing investor relations and ultimately just pitching deals. Because that was essentially what I was doing before. Right. I was just selling a product now. I’m like I said, I’m selling the opportunity to invest in one of our projects. And so,ulittle bit different thing that I’m pitching, but still ultimately the same process I’m developing relationships. And I think that has helped me raise, I mean, at this point we’ve raised about 25 million. So,uyou know, it’s, it’s, it’s been successful and, you know, but yeah. Then on the flip side of it, I’ve kind of gravitated more towards operations, but Hey, you know,uwhen you’re not raising any more money, because they’re not doing any deals right now,you gotta do something else, right?

Charles:
Right. So over the past seven years in business, what mistakes do you commonly see real estate investors make

Ben:
Analysis paralysis? I think, I think if you want to do a deal, you can get into a deal very quickly. Right. But you have to be able to add value right now. People say, Oh, I don’t have enough money. Well, do you have time? Right. If you’ve got time, right. You can find somebody that has the money, right. And then you take the time to go find a deal. And then you marry that with the guy that ha or gal that has money, and you guys go and partner, right. You know, I can, I can deconstruct anybody’s argument as to why they haven’t gotten into a deal and I can look at them and I can usually size somebody up in about two seconds and say, this guy or gal is not going to do a deal anytime soon, if they ever do do a deal. Right. Because a lot of it, they just get caught up in their head that, you know, it has to be the perfect deal, perfect numbers, perfect sub market. And if it doesn’t check every single one of those boxes, I’m not even going to make an offer. Right. And I always tell people make offers, right. You know, the brokers get, they get scored by the amount of offers that they come in on that deal as, as well as what the price was at the end of the day. Right. You know? And so they’d much rather see that you’re,uthat you’re a player that you’re actually taking this stuff seriously. Then constantly calling them, talking about new deals, asking them a ton of questions and then never making an offer. Right. That’s analysis paralysis, you know, make an offer. That makes sense. Right. Even if you feel like it’s a low ball offer, and it’s never going to get you anywhere, the broker is going to see you as, Hey, these guys are in the market, they’re actually going to buy something. We just have to find them the right deal.

Charles:
Yeah. Yeah. Especially if you have some facts behind it showing why you’re doing this, and if it’s done, it doesn’t have to be a story. It can be a few bullet points they’re going to look at and be like, wow, okay. This person actually looked at the deal on like the other people that are on my mailing list. And now we just have to find something that pencils here and I’ll definitely take their phone call and I’ll definitely return their email. So that’s kind of what the goal is, but I see a lot, I’ll get, I’ll get emails or emails that come in with different articles. And it’s like, if there’s anything negative about multifamily, someone that’s in the analysis paralysis, I’m like just one article on CNBC about it. They’re like, it’s all coming down. It’s coming. I’m like, no, it’s not, it’s not, it’s not all coming down on one.

Ben:
And then what I love about real estate too, it’s hyper-local too. Right. You know what I mean? And we sold this at eight, nine and 10, right. You know, some real estate guy, freshed some really wasn’t that affected. I mean, I lived here in Texas. We didn’t really, we were pretty insulated from the great recession, especially here in Houston, whereas oil and gas at that time was above a hundred bucks. I mean, it was roaring. And so you didn’t see the downturn that say like a Vegas or Florida or California, might’ve seen in some areas. And so that’s the other thing too, when people send me articles like that too, you’re like, give me a break, man. Let’s take the whole real estate market is not falling apart. Trust me.

Charles:
It’s also very slow. It’s very slow compared to, you know, when you’re comparing it to like the stock market or something like that. So you’re not going to wake up one day and find out that 50% of your tenants just stop paying rent or anything like that. The other thing too is about,uwhen you’re looking at deals and they want to find that grand slam. And for me, it was something when we started investing the first day we did was like a single, and then we bought it like an Oh eight and that was like more of like a double or triple. And then we bought in like, Oh nine and that was like a home run. So it’s like consistently looking at deals and consistently pulling the trigger on deals and just making sure that you have like, hinimize your downside, I think is, hs what I would say on it as well. But, mefinitely, definitely. What do you think are the main factors that have contributed to your success then?

Ben:
I think partnering, man, I think, I think I’ve, I’ve been able to partner and team up with the right people that added value to what maybe I was lacking and you know, versus trying to do it all on my own. So I mean, I’ve, I’ve certainly given up equity and given up money that I could have potentially made, you know, if I had done it all on my own, but I look at it like this, right. There’s another reason I love real estate. It’s all about leverage. Right. You know, not going to leverage like on the debt side, right through loans, I’m leveraging other people’s equity, right. Their money to get into the deal. Right. Or I’m leveraging people’s time or people’s experience. Right. You know, because you know, one or two of these deals trying to do it all on your own, you’re gonna get buried. There’s just too many. Especially if you’re doing a heavy rehab, there’s a lot of management issues. There’s a lot of moving pieces here. And so I think me having identified, you know, the right partners and the right team members and the right staff, you know, has probably been the reason why I’ve been successful versus just my own personal effort. Right. And so, you know, but that’s all about recruiting. Right. And putting yourself in the right place. Proximity is power is a, as they like to say, right, you gotta be in the right spot to find these people. So I always tell people, yeah, you don’t like to network, you don’t like to get out and this is all going to be post COVID. Right. Cause we know there’s not a whole lot of networking going on right now. You have to get out there, you know, because you’re not going to be able to do this from, you know, the backside of your computer submission to desk.

Charles:
The other thing too, is that you’re you’re kidding yourself. If you think you’re going to be great at asset management, raising money, underwriting deals, making broker relationships. It’s just not, it’s not a possibility you’ll drive yourself crazy, you know, going from underwriting to driving out the properties and reviewing ’em or talking to getting on a call with the property managers and everything like that.

Ben:
Yeah. It’s not scalable. Right. You know, like I said, after one or two deals you’re buried and you’ll never have enough time to go find your third deal. Right. So,

Charles:
So you started investor Academy. Can you tell us a little bit more about that?

Ben:
Yeah, Yeah, absolutely. So I mean, I, you know, I came through kind of the guru gauntlet is what I like to kind of tell people, you know and you know, some of those ecosystems and the groups and the people that you meet within those groups are great. Right? So I’m not, I’m not here to bash those, but the training was always very weak. Right. And a lot of what the gurus like to talk about as the sexy, as the fun stuff, right? The acquisitions, how to find a deal, how to raise money, right. That type of thing. And maybe even how to underwrite a deal nobody’s ever talking about post acquisition, nobody’s talking about asset management or property management, or once you buy that deal, what do you do now? Right. And I always tell people, that’s when the hard work actually begins, right. You’ve got to execute your business plan, you know, and there’s a lot of things that have to happen in sequence that nobody’s talking about. And so, you know, during COVID the other problem that is, is that there’s not a lot of opportunities to kind of be in front of people. Right. So we wanted to have an online platform for that. People can learn at their own pace from their laptops, from their tablet, from their computer. Right. And, you know, learn some of the stuff that was lacking in these other groups. Right. Then at an affordable price. One thing I would tell people too, as, yeah, we’ll have the real estate track and within investor Academy, but we’ll also have stock investing. We’ll have, you know, somebody talking about precious metals and franchise investing. So it’s essentially giving people the opportunity to kind of dive deep into any one of these avenues and in terms of investing and figure out which one they like, right. And then from there, if they want to dig into any deeper, right. We can always put them onto our partners and our friends and say, Hey, there’s this gentleman, or this person is offering, you know, more of a mastermind or, you know, one-on-one personal training, you know, go reach out to them. Right. So it gives you a nice swath of, you know, once you’re kind of getting new into investing, what do I want to do? You know, it gives you the opportunity to kind of dip your toe into a lot of different things. So that’s what investor academy.net is. You know, it’s, it’s a, it’s been a lot of fun kind of shooting the videos and, you know, you kinda, you kinda step back. You’re like, man, you know, there’s so much stuff that people are learning or haven’t been able to learn, you know through these other groups. And so that’s, we’re just trying to fill that gap at this point.

Charles:
Right, right. Yeah. They never ask you a and they never tell you about how to manage your your investors afterwards. When do I give them updates? You, the only way of learning that is you have to invest passively and see what other people are doing and see what works best for your firm. But it’s completely the, yeah. They, they end the the goal is just to buy it and you haven’t done any work to it. You haven’t created any equity, you haven’t done anything really. You know what I mean?

Ben:
Yeah. How do you manage the manager? Right? How do you manage the property manager? How do you do [inaudible] and disseminate those properly? You know, when do you do cost segregation and, you know, I mean, it’s just, unless you run a business, even then, I would say that you would still have a challenge figuring it out, but at least you’d have a leg up. Right. But a lot of people that, that I see in this business, right. They come from it or they come from engineering or they, they come from one of those gigs that they’re more of a working professional. They weren’t an entrepreneur or a business owner. Right. And so that makes it even more challenging for them to be like, okay, now what? So that’s kind of, that’s what we’re trying to do with investor Academy. And, you know, we’re, we’re, we’re excited to kind of roll that out,uand, and keep growing with it.

Charles:
Okay. And then how other than the Investor Academy, how can our listeners learn more about you and your company?

Ben:
Yeah. So I would say first check us out our website, www.disruptequity.com spelled just like it, like it sounds and if you want, you know, I mean, obviously as people can probably tell, I love talking this stuff. So if you do want to reach out to me, my email is [email protected] And we can, we can certainly set up a time to chat there and, you know, and that’s investors and people that are just interested in talking real estate, you know I’m an open book, very transparent about this stuff.

Charles:
Awesome. Okay. So I’ll put all those links in the show notes and thank you so much for coming on today, Ben, and looking forward to connecting you in the future. Once all this COVID is over.

Ben:
Thanks Charles. I appreciate it. Bye.

Charles:
Hi guys! It’s Charles from the Global Investors Podcast. I hope you enjoyed the show. If you’re interested in get involved with real estate, but you don’t know where to begin, set up a free 30 minute strategy call with me at schedulecharles.com. That’s schedulecharles.com. Thank you.

Announcer:
Thank you for listening to the Global Investors Podcast. If you’d like to show, be sure to subscribe on iTunes or Google play to get new weekly episodes. For more resources and to receive our newsletter, please visit global investor podcast.com and don’t forget to join us next week for another episode.

Announcer:
Nothing in this episode should be considered specific, personal or professional advice. Any investment opportunities mentioned on this podcast are limited to accredited investors. Any investments will only be made with proper disclosure, subscription documentation, and are subject to all applicable laws. Please consult an appropriate tax legal, real estate, financial or business professional for individualized advice. Opinions of guests are their own information is not guaranteed. All investment strategies have the potential for profit or loss. The host is operating on behalf of harborside partners incorporated exclusively.

Links and Contact Information Mentioned In The Episode:

  • Email: [email protected]
  • Disrupt Equity: www.disruptequity.com
  • Investor Academy: www.investoracademy.net

About Ben Suttles

Ben has been an entrepreneur for 15 years, first starting his career in IT sales and business development then onto management. His background in management and sales has helped him propel into commercial real estate, first starting in 2013. Over the last 7 years, he has been involved in the acquisition & asset management of ten multifamily properties, through partnerships and Disrupt Equity, totaling over $100MM in AUM and the purchase and sale of over 1650+ units.

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