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Interviews

WS03: Process and Systems for Rapidly Scaling Your Real Estate Investments and Achieving True Financial Freedom

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MB 116: Reawakening, Reinvention & Opportunities in Commercial Real Estate - With Alan Schnur

Alan Schnur was away on a business trip when a plane struck his office building, killing 40 of his 44 team members. In the aftermath of 9/11, Alan spent a lot of time questioning what he wanted out of life and the experience informed his drive for continuous growth. Because you never know when another plane is coming, Alan doesn’t believe in complacency. In fact, he makes it a point to reinvent himself every few years and take on new challenges in residential and commercial real estate.

Alan is a wildly successful real estate investor based in Houston, Texas. He began his real estate career rehabbing single family homes, owning a portfolio of 120 before making the transition to apartment buildings. Alan’s go-big-or-go-home mindset translated to multifamily, and he invested in 2K units across 18 complexes—AND founded a property management company that handled 7K units across 40 properties. Now he is taking on a new challenge in commercial real estate, investing in shopping centers along with medical, office and warehouse buildings. Alan is the author of three books on real estate investing, including The Cashflow Mindset: Millionaire, Billionaire & Zillionaire Designs for Financial Freedom & a Fulfilled Life.

Today, Alan joins me to share the story of his reawakening in the aftermath of 9/11 and explain how his skill set as a commodities broker translated to real estate investing. He speaks to the single family formula that dominated the first ten years of his career and his subsequent shift to apartment buildings during a trip to Japan that may or may not have involved saké. Alan describes his apartment addiction, discussing his best and worst multifamily deals as well as his reasons for pursuing syndication. Listen in for Alan’s insight on being flexible with geography and asset classes, taking on new challenges in commercial real estate, and stepping out of your comfort zone to take ACTION!

KEY TAKEAWAYS

Alan’s AHA moment

  • Job as commodities broker on 101st floor of World Trade Center
  • On business trip during 9/11, lost 40 of 44 team members
  • Week in hotel room led to reflection, reawakening
  • Move to Houston with company, rented condo in NYC

Alan’s experience with single family homes

  • First purchase for $23K, profit of $100/month
  • Bought one/month for 10 years (120 houses)
  • Formula: Rehab, Rent, Refi, Repeat

Why Alan made the transition to multifamily

  • Accumulated enough assets to quit job
  • Bought 25 houses during trip to Japan
  • Realized potential of apartment buildings

Alan’s first multifamily acquisition

  • $40K down on 76-door building (owner financing)
  • Generated more income than 100 houses

Alan’s ‘addiction’ to apartments

  • Buy one every 90 days
  • 18 complexes with 2K units

When Alan got involved with syndication

  • Running out of money, wanted to share risk
  • Started raising money on second or third complex
  • Began with general partner at 30%, 70% for sale
  • Work up to 40-50% for general partner

Alan’s best multifamily deal: The Bangkok Close

  • 1031 buyer wanted 300-unit deal
  • Invested $7M, sold for $14M

Alan’s worst multifamily deal

  • Paid $5K/unit for 160-door complex
  • School across street closed and knocked down
  • Money from bank robbery hidden in sewer line
  • Inspired shift to higher quality assets

Alan’s shift to commercial properties

  • Apartments have variable costs (unpredictable)
  • Triple net lease makes commercial predictable
  • Business renting covers repairs, insurance/taxes

Alan’s shopping center deal in Boise, ID

  • Bought six storefronts for $1M
  • 50% discount (three vacancies)
  • Closed at $2.4M

Alan’s outlook on asset classes

  • Be flexible with geography, asset classes
  • Try more things = better chance of success

Alan’s advice for aspiring real estate investors

  • Put book down and get out to property
  • Join networking group or pay for mentor
  • Watch and learn by joining syndication

What Alan is excited about moving forward

  • Retail syndication
  • Education, helping others

#12: Alan Schnur

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