In 2006, a gentleman walked into my buy-here-pay-here car lot and asked me if I wanted to buy an 18-unit apartment complex.
It piqued my interest, but I had NO background to speak of in real estate. I had never flipped a house, and I certainly hadn’t renovated a multi-family apartment complex.
The numbers looked good, and I thought, How could I go wrong. So I called my banker and pitched the idea, which she flat-out refused. Over the next three days, I asked four other banks and they all said no. At that moment, my property-flipping career was over before it had ever started.
But I didn’t give up. I kept looking and finally found a local community bank that agreed to a meeting! This was further than I had gotten with the first five banks. The local banker asked me to bring my current and previous tax returns—and my wife—to the meeting. I wasn’t sure why my wife needed to come as well, but at this point I wanted to get a deal done so I was ready to oblige.
On the day of the meeting, my wife and I drove to the community bank and arrived 15 minutes early; we didn’t want to be late. The meeting started, pleasantries exchanged, and a few questions were asked about our personal lives.
We then discussed the project at hand and the financial need to make it happen. Within a few minutes, the banker quickly spun around in his chair, turned his back to us, and started typing on his computer. He made no comment to indicate what he was working on. Five minutes later, he turned around and said, “Here is your commitment letter: 100% financing and 100% renovation. We can close in 30 days or less.”
“Huh?” I murmured. He said again, “Here is your commitment letter: 100% financing and 100% renovation. We can close in 30 days or less.”
Moments later, I picked myself up off the floor! WOW! All those no’s suddenly didn’t matter. Through perseverance, I had achieved what I needed to get the job done.
A few months later, the owner of a 12-unit apartment complex behind my 18-unit complex approached me about buying his units. Again, the banker gave me 100% financing with 100% renovations. It took only three months to complete all of the renovations and lease up the units. In less than 8.5 months, I bought, renovated, and sold the 30-unit complex for a $223,000 profit!
Had I quit after the first “no,” I wouldn’t have had this opportunity—or earned the profit. This single opportunity led to the next opportunity, which led to the next, and so forth.
In searching for your own financing, you will be told no. But don’t take no for an answer. Dig in, ask questions, do research and, if necessary, adjust your pitch, your model or your plan. But don’t give up on your passion.
What’s more… you will be told no, you will fail, you will make mistakes. You will have all kinds of things happen to you. But each time, just dust it off and continue to pursue your goals.
How do I know? I was told no. I failed. I made mistakes.
Between 2006 and 2016, I’ve bought, renovated, and sold over $52 million dollars of real estate. I’ve also consulted on real estate deals worth over $200 million dollars. In 2014, 2015, and 2016, I was ranked as one of the largest management companies in the Piedmont Triad, owning and managing 399 units in 7 complexes.