Crushing It in Apartments and Commercial Real Estate
Brian Murray

Crushing It in Apartments and Commercial Real Estate - Book Summary

How a Small Investor Can Make It Big

Duration: 23:26
Release Date: March 29, 2024
Book Author: Brian Murray
Category: Money & Investments
Duration: 23:26
Release Date: March 29, 2024
Book Author: Brian Murray
Category: Money & Investments

In this episode of 20 Minute Books, we delve into "Crushing It in Apartments and Commercial Real Estate," a comprehensive guide by Brian Murray that unlocks the secrets to achieving phenomenal success in the competitive real estate market. Published in 2017, this insightful book is not just about acquiring properties but about the journey of making the most of your investments and understanding the intricacies of commercial real estate from a seasoned professional's viewpoint.

Brian Murray, the founder and CEO of Washington Street Properties, shares his wealth of experience in navigating the commercial real estate landscape. Under his leadership, Washington Street Properties emerged as one of America's fastest-growing private companies, earning him a Gold Stevie Award for Real Estate Executive of the Year at the Annual American Business Awards in 2015.

Whether you are a budding investor contemplating diving into the world of commercial real estate and apartments, looking for actionable strategies to start a successful small business, or a novice eager to learn more about the industry from a reliable source, this book is tailored for you. Through a combination of personal anecdotes and practical advice, Murray not only illustrates what it takes to start from scratch but also how to scale and sustain growth in the real estate sector.

Join us as we explore the essential lessons and strategies from "Crushing It in Apartments and Commercial Real Estate," aiming to provide you with the knowledge and motivation to elevate your real estate ventures.

Unlock the Secrets to Real Estate Riches — Straight from the Expert's Vault

To many, the allure of real estate investment gleams like a beacon, promising stability in the tumultuous sea of financial markets. When stocks plummet and savings accounts offer meager returns, the world of bricks and mortar stands as a seemingly impervious fortress, holding its value or even appreciating when all else fails. This magnetic appeal draws countless aspirants, each hoping to secure their financial future through property ownership.

Yet, why isn't everyone diving headfirst into the realm of real estate? The answer is as straightforward as it is daunting — navigating the property market is no simple feat. For every tale of a real estate venture catapulting its owner to wealth, there's a cautionary story of investments gone awry, draining resources and spirits alike.

But take heart, for the journey through real estate is not one of inevitable missteps. Indeed, this path can lead to significant wealth, furnished with the right guidance and insights. That's precisely what you're about to explore — a treasure trove of knowledge from a seasoned real estate pro who cut his teeth in the trenches, learning through experience rather than from the sidelines.

As we embark on this exploration, you'll discover the nuances that can make or break a real estate venture. From why the seemingly odd choice of situating your office in a basement might be strategic, to dismantling the myth of the hands-off property owner, and crafting spaces that resonate as "home" for occupants, the following insights aim to equip you with the acumen needed to navigate the real estate landscape deftly.

So, whether you're contemplating your inaugural foray into property investment or seeking to refine your approach, prepare to delve into a reservoir of wisdom that could very well chart the course to your real estate success.

Navigating the Numbers: The Key to Profitable Real Estate Investing

It's an enticing thought, isn't it? The idea that securing a piece of prime real estate could be the golden ticket to resolving your financial worries once and for all. Indeed, the path through commercial real estate is paved with tales of fortunes made — yet, the journey is less about passive waiting for wealth to accumulate and more about actively engaging with financial fundamentals.

Before your real estate dreams can take flight, it's crucial to understand the bedrock concepts that determine an investment's viability: net operating income and cash-on-cash returns.

Start by calculating the net operating income — a straightforward process. Begin with the annual income you expect the property to generate. This includes not just the rent from tenants but also ancillary revenue streams such as laundry facilities and pet fees. From this total, subtract the annual expenses related to the property, such as maintenance and property taxes. The remainder? That's your net operating income.

Next comes the pivotal figure of cash-on-cash returns. Here's how you unearth this gem: divide the net operating income by your initial investment into the property. Multiply the result by one hundred, and voila, you've translated it into a percentage. This percentage reflects the cash-on-cash returns, a crucial indicator where a higher figure suggests a more lucrative investment.

As you cast your sights on expanding your real estate portfolio, gravitating towards investments that promise immediate cash flow — and, by extension, lower risk — is a wise strategy. The essence of real estate investment doesn't lie in amassing properties but in securing those that fortify your financial standing from the get-go.

The landscapes of real estate investment are varied and often unpredictable. Like a ship on the high seas, you're bound to encounter turbulent waters. In these times, cash flow becomes your lifeline, your buoy in the choppy tides of investment challenges and unexpected events. Mastering the numbers, therefore, is not just a strategy but a necessity, ensuring that when the waves hit, you remain not just afloat, but poised to sail towards greater successes.

Smart Spending and Steady Work: Key Strategies for New Real Estate Investors

Picture this: a bright-eyed investor, brimming with ambitions, reveals her grand plans to Murray, a seasoned veteran in the world of commercial real estate. Her blueprint includes bidding farewell to her current employment alongside indulging in the finer things — a swanky new car, plush office space, and a bundle of sophisticated business cards. Yet, Murray responds not with encouragement but with skepticism, grounded in one fundamental truth of real estate investment: Keep your purse strings tight, especially at the beginning.

For those stepping into the arena of real estate investment, bootstrapping becomes a mantra. The art of leveraging every resource available, squeezing value out of every dollar, stands as the cornerstone of early success. It's not about the flashy facade of luxury office spaces or the sleekness of your business cards but about funneling every possible resource back into securing more real estate deals.

Sacrifice and strategic frugality are pivotal. Take Murray's own journey as an illustrative tale. Upon securing his first office building, did he claim the prime office suite as his dominion? Quite the contrary. His "office" was but a modest utility closet tucked away in the building's basement. This decision wasn't about self-denial but about optimizing income, ensuring that every inch of the property was put to its most profitable use.

The investor's notion of quitting her day job to dive headfirst into the real estate venture was also met with caution. Murray, and indeed many successful investors, clung to their conventional employment long after their real estate ventures began. For Murray, this meant juggling the roles of teacher and real estate tycoon for seven arduous but necessary years.

The reasoning is crystal clear: in the infancy of your real estate business, removing a steady salary from the equation can jeopardize not just your personal financial stability but the very sustainability of your venture. These initial years are fraught with challenges, and the lofty goal of substantial profit remains, for a time, a distant mirage.

Murray's cautious approach was not without its rewards. His steadfastness and strategic planning culminated in his ability to comfortably resign from his teaching position only when his real estate business boasted an annual income of two million dollars.

Therefore, for aspiring real estate moguls, the pathway to success is paved with disciplined spending, strategic sacrifices, and the wisdom to keep the day job until the fruits of your investment mature. By embracing these principles, new investors can navigate the turbulent initial stages of real estate investment and eventually step into the realm of prosperity and success.

Treating Your Commercial Property Like a Business: The Path to Success

There's a long-standing myth in the real estate world, suggesting that property investment is a ticket to effortless wealth. Historically, nobility and the landed gentry have perpetuated this notion, living off the income generated by their ancestral lands and leaving the management to hired hands. Fast forward to modern times, and this myth has been rejuvenated by those pitching get-rich-quick schemes, painting property investment as a source of passive income.

However, here's the reality check: to truly reap the rewards of your real estate investment, adopting a passive stance is simply not an option. Think of your property not just as an asset but as a fully-fledged business that demands your active management and undivided attention.

The temptation to delegate might be strong, with a plethora of middlemen ready to take the reins — asset managers, portfolio managers, property managers, and the like, not to mention the various contractors you might feel inclined to hire. Each of these outsourced services, however, comes with its own cost, eating away at the very income you're striving to maximize.

Embrace the role of a hands-on manager to sidestep these potential drains on your revenue. Take the initiative to review and write leases, broker your own deals, and even engage in the nitty-gritty of manual labor — from shoveling snow to beautifying the landscape. Such direct involvement not only slashes your expenditure but also places you firmly in control of your investment's destiny.

This approach doesn't just promise increased revenue through cost-saving measures; it positions you at the helm, steering your property business with a vested interest no third-party company could match. Your initial ventures into commercial property set the stage for your future in the field, making self-management not merely a choice but a strategic imperative for long-term success.

Remember, the key to flourishing in the commercial real estate market lies in your willingness to commit fully to the venture, overcoming challenges through personal oversight and dedication. By treating your property as a business — with you at the forefront of its management — you're setting a solid foundation for growth, control, and eventual prosperity in the real estate realm.

Finding the Perfect Tenants and Setting the Right Rent

At the heart of your real estate enterprise lie your tenants — the crucial cogs that keep the machine running smoothly. Without their rent, your carefully chosen investment would merely be bricks and mortar with no financial return.

This pivotal role of tenants brings us to two critical considerations: How should we set the rent, and how do we pick the right tenants?

Firstly, when it comes to rent, the instinct may be to charge the highest possible rate. However, wisdom lies in restraint. Charging just a tad below the market rate holds numerous advantages over demanding top dollar.

High rent could deter potential tenants, leaving your property vacant and unprofitable. On the other hand, even if you manage to find tenants willing to pay a premium, they're likely to be on the lookout for more affordable options as soon as their lease ends. This leads to a higher turnover, which in turn increases your costs in marketing and refurbishing the property for the next tenant.

Setting the rent slightly lower than what the market dictates creates a very different scenario. Tenants are more inclined to renew their leases, attracted by the value they're getting. This continuity not only saves you money on direct costs related to turnover but also builds a stable tenant base.

Moreover, for commercial tenants especially, a lower overhead can contribute significantly to the success of their businesses. A thriving tenant is a stable tenant, one who's likely to remain a reliable source of income for a longer period.

Having established the logic behind rent setting, the selection of tenants is the next puzzle piece. Aim for tenants whose presence enhances the community you're building. For example, if your property is a haven of tranquillity beloved by senior residents, introducing a group of boisterous college students into the mix would disrupt this peace.

Similarly, consider the synergy between your commercial tenants. A quaint toy shop and a marijuana dispensary side by side? Probably not the best mix. This compatibility extends beyond merely avoiding conflict; it's about fostering an ecosystem where all tenants feel at home and are set up for success.

In summary, by carefully selecting who rents your property and setting rent that values long-term occupancy over immediate gain, you not only build a thriving community but also bolster the financial health and appeal of your real estate investment.

Building More Than Wealth: The Underlying Purpose of Your Real Estate Investments

Before embarking on the journey of real estate investment, there comes a moment of introspection, a critical self-assessment that goes beyond financial aspirations. It begs the question of what genuinely propels you forward in this endeavor. The real estate market is a challenging terrain, demanding not only relentless effort and time but also a determination that refuses to wane in the face of adversities.

What's the driving force behind your venture?

While the allure of monetary gain is undeniable — serving as a primary motivator for many — it's crucial to recognize that money alone may falter as a source of sustained motivation. The initial excitement tied to financial rewards tends to diminish over time. Furthermore, the realities of managing a real estate business, particularly in its infancy, are often less than lucrative, making it imperative to anchor your venture in a deeper, nonmonetary purpose.

To unearth this foundational purpose, consider what draws you to the real estate sector. Is it the potential to make a meaningful impact on others’ lives, providing spaces that enhance their day-to-day existence, thereby contributing to the betterment of the community at large? Such reflections can help clarify the motivations that extend beyond the balance sheet.

With this purpose in mind, the next step is to sculpt your business values around it. These values will serve as the backbone of your enterprise, shaping not only the decision-making processes and behaviors within your organization but also crafting the overarching company culture. It’s these values that will guide your business through its growth, ensuring that every step taken is aligned with the core purpose you’ve identified.

Consider, for example, values such as excellence, creativity, and integrity. These principles, when genuinely integrated into the DNA of your real estate business, can provide a sense of direction and resilience during challenging times. They enable you and your team to derive meaning and satisfaction from your work, beyond mere financial success, fostering an environment where everyone is united by a shared sense of purpose.

In essence, by grounding your real estate investments in a purpose that transcends financial achievements and by building your business around values that resonate with this purpose, you lay a foundation for an endeavor that is not only profitable but also profoundly fulfilling and impactful.

The Long Game: Building Value by Holding onto Your Real Estate Investments

Picture this: poised at a crossroads, the author found himself wrestling with the tantalizing thought of liquidating his entire portfolio. After years of nurturing his properties, they had finally reached a point of profitability, gleaming with the promise of immediate financial gratification. Conversations with a potential buyer even began, fluttering the prospect of cashing out right before his eyes.

Yet, a pivotal decision was made to resist the siren call of quick profits. Why, you might ask? The author had grasped a fundamental truth about real estate investment: true, enduring value emerges only through perseverance and long-term commitment. The journey to amplifying a property's worth — especially when financing improvements through cash flow generated by the property itself — demands time and patience.

Consider the scenario where you aim to elevate your property's value by enhancing utility efficiency, perhaps by insulating water pipes or installing water-saving fixtures. Yes, these improvements promise long-term savings and, by extension, an increased net operating income. However, the initial outlay casts a shadow of short-term financial burden, underscoring the necessity of a prolonged holding period to truly reap the benefits of such upgrades.

A general rule of thumb advises a holding period of roughly five years, though circumstances might dictate even longer. Proving the property's worth to a potential buyer hinges on presenting a solid record of profitability spanning at least two years. Without this evidence, justifying a higher valuation becomes a formidable challenge.

Beyond the strategic considerations of enhancing value over time, there's also the pragmatic aspect of transaction costs to consider. Selling a property incurs a range of expenses, including transaction fees that can chew through 5 to 10 percent of the sale price, not to mention the hefty commissions often payable to real estate brokers. That's before even addressing the tax implications of capital gains.

In contrast, holding onto your properties sidesteps these costs, weaving a patient path toward eventual, substantial financial gains. Such a strategy is not only financially sound but also illustrates a key principle of successful real estate investing: the power of patience, coupled with a hands-on approach and a forward-looking vision, can forge a path to prosperity.

Embrace this mindset, arm yourself with determination, and prepare to dive into the real estate market. With the right attitude and commitment, the rewards of long-term investment await.

Mastering Real Estate Investing: Key Strategies for Success

Embarking on the journey of real estate investment holds the promise of building significant wealth. However, reaching the pinnacle of success in this arena requires more than just a financial stake; it demands strategic savvy, a proactive approach, and an adherence to a set of core principles.

The cornerstone of flourishing in real estate lies in treating each investment not as a mere asset to be passively managed but as a dynamic business venture calling for active involvement. This mindset shifts the investor from a sideline spectator to a central figure orchestrating the property’s path to profitability.

Another critical strategy is patience — the willingness to view real estate investment through a long-term lens. Holding onto properties for an extended period not only allows for the organic growth of their value but also mitigates the costs associated with frequent buying and selling, such as transaction fees and taxes on capital gains.

Above all, a keen focus on cost efficiency is paramount. The mantra here is hands-on management; by directly overseeing as many aspects of the property’s operation as possible, from maintenance to lease negotiations, investors can significantly trim operational costs. This do-it-yourself ethos not only enhances the financial performance of the investment but also ensures the investor remains intricately connected to the pulse of their property.

By integrating these strategies — treating real estate as a business, embracing a long-term holding mindset, and actively managing to maximize cost efficiency — investors can navigate the complex terrain of real estate with confidence. Following these principles lays the groundwork for not just achieving but exceeding financial goals in the vast and varied world of real estate investing.

Crushing It in Apartments and Commercial Real Estate Quotes by Brian Murray

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