Barratt Asset Management (BAM) founder and CEO, Ivan Barratt, made a recent appearance on the Apartment Building Investing podcast with host Michael Blank. Ivan shared his own industry experience, what he wishes he’d done differently, his unique methods of raising capital through relationships, plus advice he’d offer to people thinking about jumping into multifamily investing. If you have time, check out the full podcast here to catch all the great insight and insider scoop on the industry. If you’re short on time, read on for some of Ivan’s best pointers…
Big or Small, All Deals Require the Same Effort
Ivan revealed to host Michael Blank how his start in the multifamily industry began with buying a duplex and living in one side while renting the other. What he realized over time was that it takes the same time and energy to finalize a large deal or a small one: going after the bigger deal just makes more sense. Ivan said that had he to do it over, he would’ve jumped right in with the 30 and 40-unit deals; however, some of his most recent deals have included 240 and 250-units. Yet one factor he noted even more important than the size of the deal is that of gaining momentum.
The Realities of Financing
Ivan discussed networking and locating a great lender who saw him through acquisition, renovation, and even carried interest. In previous years, he said, money was harder to come by. The flip side is that in the current climate finding financing may be easier, but finding a truly worthwhile deal is much harder. He colorfully explained that you’d “better expect to kiss a lot of frogs” before finding the right deal. Ivan also mentioned the formula he came up with to determine a good deal and had based it off what a house-flipper might use.
Raising Capital by Building Relationships
Ivan shared his philosophy not just on raising capital but on building real, lasting relationships through networking. One innovative way he does that is by straying outside his lane and talking with people from other fields, including physicians, as he revealed to host Michael Blank. Ivan enjoys forming relationships and what he calls his “pipeline of contacts” organically rather than in a pushy sales manner. As he told the host, by sharing what he’s doing and his experience, his own network grows and it becomes “who you know and who they know.” Ivan said he finds that people are intrigued to hear his experience, including both successes and failures. In meeting with professionals like physicians, Ivan has learned that he can deliver real value by educating others in the pitfalls and possible successful routes in multifamily real estate. As Ivan told the host, it isn’t just about real estate but about being a good person and offering insight, candor, and helping people who are new to the game. Ivan’s approach has paid off in a tremendous network and he’s enjoyed working on deals with people who appreciated him sharing his experience and knowledge.
Advice for Those Interested in Multifamily Investing
Amid a successful career in the industry, Ivan has plenty of hard-won advice to offer those who are considering getting into the business. Some of that is:
- Remember that cash-flow is king. Don’t become obsessed chasing the next great deal and neglect your cash flow.
- A property management company isn’t a profit center. Build a good property management company to execute the plan for acquired assets.
- Spend time building the right property management team. Ivan’s team is so well-tuned that he spent four days unaware there was a (zero-injury) fire at a property, because his team handled it perfectly and everything went exactly right, thanks to having the right people in place.
- Educate yourself. Listen to podcasts, read industry literature, immerse yourself daily in the industry.
- Make your education a habit.
- Meet people, begin to build a network, find brokers.
- Set small daily goals because little accomplishments add up.
- Use LoopNet to look at 100 deals so you learn what a good deal looks like.
- Don’t look at the summit of the mountain, but keep putting one foot in front of the other and the summit will take care of itself. For Ivan, multifamily is the right mountain to climb.
The Ideal Day
Ivan isn’t all work and no play, as he revealed to the host. He takes time off to vacation with his family, often in Gulf Shores. For Ivan, the perfect day is working out before the sun is up, checking “mission critical” emails, putting his work phone away and enjoying time with his wife and kids, checking in later on any important work issues, and again setting his work aside to enjoy the rest of his time with his family. Ivan has reached many goals already but still feels driven: driven to enjoy freedom, provide for his family, and as he said, to have fun with it!