Financial Freedom with Real Estate Investing

What is the key to scaling a real estate investing business? Growing your investor database? Raising more and more capital for deals? Putting together and training a capable team? Yes, all of those things are absolutely necessary. And they all require that you build out systems. Systems that allow the business to run on its own.

Jorge Abreu is the Cofounder and CEO of Elevate Commercial Investment Group, a Dallas real estate firm focused on the acquisition of value-add multifamily assets. In his 15-year career, Jorge has flipped 200-plus houses, wholesaled another 100 properties and done $8M in ground-up construction. Since his introduction to multifamily four years ago, Jorge has built a portfolio of 1,700 units worth $125M.

On this episode of Apartment Building Investing, Jorge joins cohost Garrett Lynch and I to share the challenges of scaling a single family investing business and discuss what inspired his transition to apartment buildings. He weighs in on the value of networking (online and in-person) to forge new partnerships and build a solid team. Listen in for insight on building systems to grow your business and learn why Jorge recommends skipping single family and getting right into multifamily investing!

Key Takeaways

What inspired Jorge’s interest in real estate

  • Research of successful individuals
  • Entrepreneurial role models in family

The challenges of scaling a single family business

  • Difficult to find reliable contractor for flips
  • Creating systems to delegate work

How Jorge started over in Dallas after 2008

  • Network every day, go to every event
  • Build team and find partnerships

The value of finding a good partnership

  • Division of roles affords time freedom
  • One partner as visionary, one as executor

The benefits of multifamily investing

  • Build generational wealth
  • Branch out into other companies

How Jorge attracts and retains team members

  • Make sure everyone happy
  • Check in re: expectations

When to bring property management in house

  • Implement own systems (control)
  • More appropriate with scale

Why Jorge runs his own construction company

  • Helped scale single family business
  • Confident taking on any heavy lift

Jorge’s insight on raising capital for multifamily

  • Invest passively to get feel for business
  • Market to build database of investors

What Jorge does to market his syndications

  • Build platform, daily posts on social
  • Funnel with email marketing follow up

How Jorge manages his investor lists

  • Speak to new investors asap
  • Strategic messaging to match goals

What’s next for Jorge and the Elevate team

  • Explore new partnerships
  • Fine tune system for evaluating deals

What Jorge would tell his younger self

  • Build out systems early on
  • Go straight to large multifamily

Connect with Jorge Abreu

Elevate Commercial Investment Group



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Direct download: ABI_242.mp3
Category:Commercial Real Estate -- posted at: 1:00am EST

What is the best way to approach the conversation with potential multifamily investors? How do you communicate the benefits of investing in apartment buildings over other asset classes and assure them that their money is safe with you—even if you’re new to the space?

David Kamara is the Founder and Managing Director of Cape Sierra Capital, a multifamily syndication firm out of Ann Arbor, Michigan. He has 15 years of investing experience in the real estate space, getting his start with a portfolio of residential single family and duplex units before transitioning to apartment buildings and townhome communities. Today, David owns 200-plus units and serves as a mentor on the Michael Blank team.

On this episode of Apartment Building Investing, David joins cohost Drew Whitson and I to explain how he coaches his mentoring students to approach the conversation with potential investors, describing how multifamily isn’t subject to the same risks as single family rentals. He weighs in on what helps aspiring syndicators believe in their ability to succeed, exploring how knowledge helps us visualize what’s possible but action is key in making it real. Listen in for David’s insight on getting your priorities straight and learn how underwriting to cashflow makes multifamily a good investment no matter what’s going on in the world.

Key Takeaways

What David’s been up to since his last appearance

  • Find competitive deals with good return for investors
  • Develop personal cashflow formula (free eBook)
  • Share knowledge through platform, mentoring

What helps aspiring multifamily investors believe it’s possible

  • Knowledge (i.e.: understanding of loans, taxes)
  • Personality open to learning new things

How COVID changed the way David talks to investors

  • Proactive in reaching out to investors
  • Open about potential for no distributions

How COVID has impacted David’s underwriting

  • Assume minimal rent increases for next 3 years
  • Take on longer, fixed-rate debt (HUD loans)
  • Prepare investors for longer hold periods

David’s advice around market timing

  • Don’t worry about things can’t control
  • Plan for same cap rate at sale, focus on cashflow
  • Choose markets with job diversity

How David coaches his students on talking to investors

  • Explain cash-on-cash return and appreciation
  • In control of both factors with multifamily

Why David invested in the Platform Builder Incubator

  • Eventually run out of investors as business scales
  • Attract high-income earners, serve more people
  • Accelerate growth (program tailored to syndicators)

David’s plan to produce content consistently

  • Write blogs on common questions
  • Considering podcast as medium

David’s advice for aspiring multifamily syndicators

  1. You have to start (buy something)
  2. Prioritize what’s important in life
  3. Hustle to find deals

Connect with David Kamara

Cape Sierra Capital

David’s Free eBook: Personal Cashflow Formula


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Direct download: ABI_241.mp3
Category:Commercial Real Estate -- posted at: 1:00am EST

A lot of would-be multifamily syndicators get stuck, sometimes out of fear and sometimes because they want to plan every step of the process before they dive in. But that’s not how entrepreneurship works! In fact, the most successful real estate investors are the ones who are willing to put themselves out there and learn by doing—taking consistent, imperfect action.  

Matt Brawner is Managing Partner at Minnesota Capital Management and Northwoods Servicing, a real estate investing firm and property management company based in Coon Rapids, Minnesota. Matt and his partners have achieved considerable success turning their $5K investments into a portfolio worth more than $20M, but his greatest passion is teaching. To that end, Matt now serves as a mentor with the Michael Blank organization

On this episode of Apartment Building Investing, Matt joins cohost Drew Whitson and I to explain how he got into real estate, discussing how he formed a successful partnership with five other investors and what inspired their transition from townhomes to multifamily properties. He introduces us to the idea of setting up debt funds to raise capital and shares the pros and cons of having your own property management company. Listen in for Matt’s insight on scaling a multifamily business and learn how YOU can get unstuck and get into ACTION to become a successful real estate syndicator! 

Key Takeaways

What inspired Matt to become a mentor 

  • Career = function of faith
  • Help others achieve time freedom

How Matt got into real estate 

  • Realized no influence on stock market
  • Local opportunity to rent townhomes

What makes for a good partnership 

  • Communicate well (100% honesty)
  • Equal share of financial burden

Matt’s transition from townhomes to multifamily 

  • Local operator had deal but needed capital
  • Matt’s team had money to invest

Why Matt’s team had set up debt funds 

  • Needed capital to scale business
  • Attracts investors who want certainty

Matt’s top lessons learned in real estate investing 

  • Get into multifamily much sooner
  • All properties not created equal

The benefits of having a property management company 

  • Own more of value chain
  • Insight into local deals

Matt’s advice on property management for new investors 

  • Use third party when getting started
  • Allows to scale quicker, more efficiently

The traits of a successful multifamily syndicator 

  • Willing to learn by doing
  • Willing to wade into unknown

Matt’s insight on underwriting post-COVID 

  • Focus on forced appreciation
  • Add value to drive incremental revenue

What aspiring investors get stuck on 

  • Fear
  • Desire to plan out everything in advance

The challenges Matt faces in scaling his business 

  • Find landlord-friendly markets
  • Intentional networking to find deals

Connect with Matt Brawner

Matt on LinkedIn 



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Direct download: ABI_240.mp3
Category:Commercial Real Estate -- posted at: 1:00am EST

So, you’ve got some experience in single family rentals. And you KNOW that multifamily investing would help you achieve financial freedom on an accelerated timeline. But you just don’t BELIEVE that you can do it. What can you do to overcome that hurdle and develop the confidence to take on your first deal?

Jeremy LeMere is the Principal at Star Capital Management Group, an equity real estate investment firm based in DePere, Wisconsin. He began his investing career over a decade ago, rehabbing single family and duplex properties. Since then, he has grown his personal portfolio to include multifamily, self-storage and commercial assets. Jeremy recently quit his corporate engineering job to pursue real estate full time, and he also serves as a mentor with the Michael Blank organization.

On this episode of Apartment Building Investing, Jeremy joins me to explain how seeing his net worth drop during the Great Recession inspired his interest in real estate. He walks us through his early investments in single family homes and duplexes, discussing why he made the shift to multifamily to replace his W-2 income much faster. Listen in for Jeremy’s insight on raising capital with an online platform and learn how YOU can leverage mentorship to overcome limiting beliefs and invest in your first multifamily deal!

Key Takeaways

What inspired Jeremy’s interest in real estate

  • Committed to saving and investing as much as possible
  • Net worth cut in half, 401(k) collapsed in recession

Jeremy’s initial real estate investing strategy

  • Bought and operated duplexes in local area
  • Denied loan on third property
  • Build portfolio of SFH with BRRRR method

How Jeremy funded his investments without bank loans

  • Liquidate stocks, use 401(k) and savings
  • Work with credit union
  • Start flipping SFH and reinvesting profit

What inspired Jeremy’s shift to multifamily

  • Passed over for promotion at corporate job
  • Changed goal from replace income at 55 to 45

How Jeremy got started with multifamily

  • Join Michael Blank mentoring program
  • Develop can-be-done mindset

The timeline on Jeremy’s first multifamily deal

  • Started mentoring program in January 2018
  • Identified asset with value to unlock by March
  • Acquired few months later (at asking price)
  • Took from 82% to 98% occupancy in 3 months

The opportunities Jeremy identified in his first deal

  • Value-add and increase rents as units turn
  • Address vacancy gap (comps 100% occupancy)

Jeremy’s approach to quitting his corporate job

  • Gradually empower team to take over duties
  • Last day of work = non-event

How Jeremy’s life is different as a full-time investor

  • Free up time to enjoy lake house with family
  • Able to help others as career coach, mentor

Jeremy’s decision to add self-storage to his portfolio

  • Local opportunity for 2 sites with 300 units
  • Closed on 7/3, increase in occupancy already

How Jeremy raised money for the self-storage opportunity

  • Needed $500K (2/3 from outside investors)
  • Partner on funding side of wholesaling, flips

Why Jeremy is building a platform to raise capital

  • Weakness in self-promotion and marketing
  • Use automation to attract new investors

What Jeremy is working on right now

  • Look for next big syndication deal
  • Build out platform with content

Connect with Jeremy LeMere

Star Capital Management Group


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Direct download: ABI_239.mp3
Category:Commercial Real Estate -- posted at: 1:00am EST

How do you land your first syndication deal without a track record in multifamily? Well, it all starts with networking. Networking with brokers. Networking with potential investors. Networking with other multifamily operators. And if you can get plugged a real estate investing community, you can leverage the knowledge and experience of investors who’ve been where you want to go and fast-track your success!

Barry Flavin is a mentor with the Michael Blank organization and Managing Partner at New Mission Capital, a multifamily investment firm out of Detroit, Michigan. He got his start in real estate eight years ago, building a portfolio of 30 single family rentals before making the shift to multifamily. Barry has a background in software sales and spent six years working as an air traffic controller before discovering real estate, and today, he owns 387 units, leveraging his expertise in investor relations to grow the business.

On this episode of Apartment Building Investing, Barry joins cohost Drew Whitson and I to explain how an air traffic controller ends up in real estate, walking us through his transition from building a portfolio of single family rentals to raising capital for large multifamily deals. He discusses the advantages of focusing his investments in a single market, describing how he found his partner, Josh, and what they do to secure consistent deal flow. Listen in for Barry’s insight on avoiding expensive mistakes with 1:1 mentoring and find out how YOU can accelerate your success through the Michael Blank community.

Key Takeaways

What inspired Barry’s interest real estate

  • Looking to supplement government pension
  • Desire to travel in retirement

Barry’s initial real estate investing strategy

  • Fix up and sell personal residences
  • BRRRR method (build SFH rental portfolio)

How Josh funded his early real estate investments

  • Start with own cash, retirement accounts
  • Borrow from private lenders and refinance properties

How Barry and Josh structure their partnership

  • Josh finds and underwrites deals + operates portfolio
  • Barry’s focus on investor relationships, raising capital

How Barry raised $2.8M for his first 144-unit deal

  • Lot of phone calls, emails, coffees and dinners
  • Scrambling after few weeks but fell into place

Barry’s advice on making a capital raise less stressful

  • Touchpoints 1, 2 and 3 while still looking for deal
  • Show potential investors sample deal package

How Barry benefits from focusing on the Detroit market

  • Knowledge of best neighborhoods to invest
  • Track record + broker relationships = deal flow

Barry’s advice for aspiring investors without a track record

  • Network with brokers and investors
  • Add value to partner (borrow their reputation)

The #1 thing new syndicators need to do to be successful

  • Deep dive into online content to learn language
  • Get plugged into community

Barry’s insight on having in-house property management

  • Can outsource in beginning, interview for best fit
  • Consider in-house team as business scales

How Barry thinks about adding to his team

  • Weakness around building funnel for new investors
  • May hire admin to streamline marketing strategy

Barry’s take on goal setting for multifamily

  • Don’t have set number of units
  • Consistently do GOOD deals (minimum of 2/year)

Barry’s advice to his younger self

  • Learn to use money as tool much sooner
  • Accelerate real estate with 1:1 coaching program

Barry’s advice for aspiring multifamily investors

  • Be coachable and follow through
  • Don’t get stuck in analysis paralysis
  • Learn from every deal (even if don’t go through)
  • Don’t listen to naysayers

Connect with Barry Flavin

New Mission Capital


Barry on LinkedIn


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Garrett Lynch on Apartment Building Investing EP231

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Direct download: ABI_238.mp3
Category:Commercial Real Estate -- posted at: 1:00am EST