140: Agent, Property Manager, Investor Sean Morrissey in Chicago


On this episode of the InvestFourMore Real Estate Podcast, I speak with Sen Morrissey, who is a real estate investor, broker, and property manager in Chicago. Sean got into the real estate business in 2001 when he bought a rental property. He was then able to quit his corporate job by becoming a real estate agent. He has bought 23 rentals and managed over 200 properties at one time as a property manager. Sean has a very interesting story, and we hear all about it on this week’s show.

How did Sean get started in real estate?

Sean went to school to become a restaurant manager. He was able to get a job in his field but never enjoyed his career choice. During a discussion with his father about real estate, Sean knew he wanted to start buying rental properties. He was able to buy his first rental in 2001, but things went slowly after that. He bought a few more rentals over the next five years but still hated his job as a restaurant manager. Sean decided to get his real estate license. He started out as a part-time agent, but after two years as an agent was able to quit his job and get into real estate full time.

What niche did Sean discover as a real estate agent?

Sean helped people buy and sell houses as an agent. It was his commissions that allowed him to make enough money to quit his job. As an agent, he worked in a down market in the Chicago area. He had people who needed help selling their homes or renting them out because they were too under water to sell. Sean began managing properties for investors and realized there was a huge need for good property managers. After a couple of years working with Keller Williams, Sean opened his own brokerage: Chicagoland Realty Group Partners. At one point, he was managing over 200 properties.

What did Sean learn about property management?

Sean offered people many choices when managing their properties. He offered services that included just collecting rent, just taking care of maintenance, just doing checkups, or a combination of the three. Sean was able to grow his property management business very quickly and realized he could not offer an à la cart service anymore. He moved to a basic fee structure.

On the podcast, Sean also talks about the best way to manager properties. He discusses:

  • Credit scores.
  • Bankruptcy.
  • Eviction.
  • Income.
  • Criminal background.

What are Sean’s goals and plans in real estate?

Sean talks about what he wants to do in the future with real estate. He says he wants to focus on being a commercial real estate agent working with investors. He also talks about his goals for rental property income. Sean has 23 rentals but is under contract to buy a 16-unit multifamily property. He is hoping that in 2018, he will have enough income from his rentals to cover all his expenses.

If you want to contact Sean, you can reach his real estate office at chicago-realty-group, or you can find his podcast on iTunes: Landlording for Life Podcast.


Transcript:
[0:00:13.9] MF: Welcome to the InvestFourMore Real Estate Podcast. My name is Mark Ferguson and I am your host. I am an active real estate investor. I flip 15 to 30 houses a year. I've got residential and commercial rental properties. I’m an agent with nine people on my real estate team who sold thousands of houses over the years, and I talk about what's going on in my career as well as interview other amazing agents, investors, landlords, flippers, wholesalers and companies who can help those people succeed. 

I want to give a quick shout out to my sponsor, Patch of Land. They funded a flip for me in six days. I emailed them on a Sunday afternoon. They responded in less than 15 minutes. They have rates below 8%, work in 45 states, will fund 85% of a deal and fund the repairs as well. Great company, who I love working with, Patch of Land. 

For my podcast listeners, I've a special discount page for my products, investfourmore.com\discount. That's investfourmore.com/discount. We’ve got coupons on all my coaching programs. Some of those programs involve calls with me, consulting, video training, and much, much more. 

All right, let's get to the show.

[INTERVIEW]

[0:00:14.0] MF: Welcome to the InvestFourMore Real Estate Podcast. My name is Mark Ferguson and I am your host. I’m an active real estate investor. I flip 15 to 30 houses a year. I’ve got residential and commercial rental properties. I’m an agent with nine people on my real estate team who sold thousands of houses over the years. I talk about what’s going on in my career, as well as interview other amazing agents, investors, landlords, flippers, wholesalers and companies who can help those people succeed.

I want to give a quick shout out to my sponsor Patch of Land; they funded a flip for me in six days. I e-mailed them on a Sunday afternoon. They responded in less than 15 minutes. They have rates below 8%. Work in 45 states. Will fund 85% of a deal and fund the repairs as well. Great company, who I love working with; Patch of Land.

For my podcast listeners, I have a special discount page for my products investfourmore.com\discount. That’s investF-O-U-R-M-O-R-E.com\discount. We’ve got coupons on all my coaching programs. Some of those programs involve calls with me, consulting, video training and much, much more.

All right, let’s get to the show.

[INTERVIEW]

[0:01:47.4] MF: Hey, it’s Mark. Today we have an awesome guest for the show; Sean Morrissey, who is with Chicagoland Realty Group Partners. I’m excited to talk to Sean, because he started his own brokerage, has 23 rental properties of his own and he also manages, I think he told me 180 properties for other clients as well.

I know it’s exciting managing properties in Chicago with the tenant laws. I think Sean has a lot of similar characteristics to myself as far as being a broker, an agent, an investor. Sean, thank you so much for being on the show. How are you today?

[0:02:21.6] SM: Doing great. Thanks so much for having me on.

[0:02:23.6] MF: No, I appreciate it. With this time at the weather a little bit, it’s cold and snowy here in Colorado. It sounds it’s not a whole lot better in Chicago, but hopefully things get better.
[0:02:31.9] SM: Yeah. The snow is slowly melting. Getting there.

[0:02:35.8] MF: I always like to start out my shows, just get some history and background on you. How did you first get into real estate?

[0:02:42.8] SM: Let’s see. It was back in 2001. I mean boy, we’re talking 16, 17 years ago. I actually went out to dinner one day with my dad and went over with me the tax advantage of owning an investment real estate. My parents weren’t real estate moguls or anything of that nature, but that sparked the flame that led to a few books, like so many of your listeners read Rich Dad, Poor Dad about 15 years ago and I purchased my first investment property back in 2003. I’m pushing for 14, 15 years of being in the business.

[0:03:13.9] MF: Very nice. That’s funny. I started in 2001 with my dad who is an agent. That’s interesting.

[0:03:20.6] SM: Our good luck dads.

[0:03:22.8] MF: What were you doing at that time? Did you have like a corporate job? What was your work?

[0:03:26.4] SM: Yeah, so I graduated with a bachelor degree in restaurant management. I went to the Peace Corps. I lived in Western Kenya for some time. Then when I came back, I started off in restaurant management and within the first year of doing that, just when I had that conversation with my dad. I feel collective and had it and ultimately it’s got me going to the right direction, I’d like to think.

[0:03:48.3] MF: I’m sure. It can be a little crazy managing restaurants with everything that’s going on.

[0:03:52.1] SM: Yeah. Too much work, too little money frankly.

[0:03:54.7] MF: Right. That’s what I’ve heard . If you own a restaurant, it might work out okay.

[0:04:00.2] SM: Yeah. The whole other ball of wax. Yeah.

[0:04:02.1] MF: How long did it take you to go from the restaurant management – did you go from there straight into real estate, or some things in between? How did your career progress?

[0:04:09.8] SM: Yeah. It was a slow transition. I mean, like I said, I bought my first rental property in 2003 and then another in 2004. I ended up buying a property in 2007, 2008. I got a little bit caught up in the bubble, but fortunately I was able to manage all that. I ended up getting my real estate license back in early 2007. I made a slow transition from being a part-time real estate agent to a fulltime real estate agent, which was in May of 2009.

Back in those days, I was the Keller Williams agent here in the Chicago end area and the western suburbs. More than anything, I think that experience gave me a good framework for understanding the rules of engagement when it comes to real estate agency.

What made me a little bit different I feel is that ultimately, I was an agent with an investor focus. Meaning, that I’m an investor first and agent second. I looked at real estate agency as a job and a real estate investment as the best way out of – well, out of the rat race frankly. I was fortunate enough to do that from ’07, ’09. Really my focus during those days when homes weren’t selling at all, were to use my landlord experience to help homeowners that needed to take that job relocation and didn’t want to take cash the clothing, or didn’t want to short sale or foreclosing their homes.

Really what we did is we helped a lot of homeowners rent their property so that at least they had some cash flow coming in and they can float the boat until the economy came back. Now that eventually transitioned into property management in the early part of 2010. By October 2011, I ended up leaving the Williams brokerage and open up my own brokerage, because there was just such a demand for property management at that time. It’s funny, looking back, I could’ve done so much more if I just understood even more so the scope and the magnitude of the people that needed help at that time. It’s really pretty amazing.

[0:06:03.4] MF: Well, that is yes quite a transition you made. I would to talk a little bit more about being a part-time agent to fulltime agent. I have a ton of people who listen to me who are on my blog, but are in the corporate world, want to get out of it, or are looking for that pathway to become a fulltime real estate investor. I think like you did being an agent is like a nice little way to quicken that process more because you’re involved in the business.

Do you think it was advantageous to be a part-time agent for a while, or do you wish you would’ve just jumped into it all at once?

[0:06:32.3] SM: Well, it’s funny looking back. I mean, I was still single in those days without kids being with that. Could I have done it? Probably. Would it have been comfortable? Not at all. I’m a podcast junkie these days. What I pull from so many folks and myself included in the story was at that time, I ended up hating my job so much, for a lack of a better word that it gave me the passion to want to transition out as soon as possible.

Now having said that, in order to go from zero to 60 as a real estate agent, you’ve got to have a niche. I mean, that’s probably the easiest way looking back to make it happen. Either go from not being to fulltime, or part-time to fulltime. You’ve got to have some niche and with the market need.

Fortunately back in those days, I have that niche based on previous experience as a landlord per se and as a real estate investor. But what evolved from that is this day and age, especially the Chicago land area, is a lot of competition when it comes to property management. Because there is just so much that grew out of that economy, seven, eight years ago.

It led to some different opportunities for us, but at the same time it also has led to a lot of challenges. This is a lot of competition this day and age when it comes to property management here locally. You go to change with the market, right?

[0:07:48.4] MF: Exactly. I’ve had a lot of change in my career as well. One last thing on this the transition, when did you get to a point where you felt comfortable saying, “Hey, I’m going to quit my job. I’m going to go fulltime in real estate.” Were you making a fair amount of money? Did you have enough passive income from your rentals? What was it that triggered that transformation?

[0:08:06.3] SM: Yeah. Ironically it was not passive income. It was more or less looking at my books over the last 18 months and say, “Hey, I’m bringing enough commission income to where I could provide for myself and at that time my fiancé, or soon to be wife, because we got married in May of ’09.” It was a nice transition point.

That was it for me. Now naturally, I think it’s easier to take these chances when you don’t have a family, but the mechanics side are the same, right? I mean, you need to look at a passive income, or regular monthly income to justify that big stuff. I think if folks start to do that, it will be a much easier transition, rather than just jumping in the water and saying, “Hey, I’m going to learn how to swim.”

[0:08:49.2] MF: That makes sense. Now with the property management, I have managed my own rentals, but I’ve never gotten into the business of managing other people’s rentals. What drew you into that niche? What was attractive to that for you?

[0:09:01.9] SM: It was funny. Back in 2010 I didn’t have any chance of getting a property management. I was frankly scared of managing other people’s properties. I had enough clients approach me and saying, “Hey, Sean. I live in Seattle now and I’ve got this property in the Chicago land area, or Phoenix and whatnot. I got this property in the Chicago land area. I need your help.”

Where I was like, “Hey, there is a market here.” Looking back, that door opened for me probably in ’08 and I was just too blind to see it. At the end of the day, it was really that client base that came to me and said, “Hey, Sean. We need your help. Can you do this for us?” I was able to put it together in the system, talk to enough property managers to know where I was at on the playing field and then ultimately made the jump.

We went from zero to 30 properties probably in the first six months. We were a member of different organizations at that time, so we ended up managing some properties, some foreclosures through Fannie Mae at that time, where homeowners that ultimately collected rent and stopped paying the mortgage, Fannie Mae has such a supply of those. If they were going to put them on the market, prices would’ve been dragged down on the selling that much more.

We ended up managing those properties for him. There was just a lot of opportunity that fell unto my lap. Where by 2012, I mean it was funny looking back, just phone ringing and I was just taking appointments left and right and folks would be like, “Hey, where do I sign?” Because there just wasn’t enough good supply of property managers at that time in Chicago land area. Was fortunate enough again to meet the market at the right time.

[0:10:30.9] MF: Very nice. If you don’t mind talking about it, how would you structure your fees and how would you charge people for that management?

[0:10:37.0] SM: What made us a little bit different was I initially approached it from an ala carte standpoint. We would charge based on a percentage of monthly rent. For instance, back in those days, it was really rent collection, it was 4% of monthly rent, handling, repair and maintenance call to be 2% of monthly rent. If you wanted a quarterly inspection performed on your property, it would also be 2% of monthly rent.

We left it up to the homeowner to say, “All right, based on the services charged you then can choose what you think is necessary for you and then ultimately we’ll build our plan around that.” Now there is naturally with any system, there’s some headaches. The headache was that concept is that you are customizing a plan for each individual property. If you wanted to scale your business out, now all of a sudden you’d be like, “Oh, but wait. We’re not collecting rent for them, but we are them. We’re not getting repair cost for them, but we are for them.”

There is some certain hiccups there, but it made for a unique niche in the marketplace at that time. Now eventually what happened is we got such a level of focus manage to where we were able to cut down the late fees and simplify things where we said, “All right. In a single family home for a $100 bucks month, we’ll handle rent collection and repair and maintenance.” Then anytime they want us to do an inspection, we’ll charge a separate fee for that.

The management fee would be less for a condo or town hall, and it would be even less if we’re managing a multi-family property. At the end of the day it was really the more properties they give us to manage, the less it’s going to cost per property just based on a scale level. A system that works pretty well this day and age, but again there is a lot of competitors out there, so I wouldn’t tell anybody, “Listen, jump in the property management today.” I would probably say, “Look for investment opportunities in your own marketplace first. There’s a lot out there regardless of location.”

[0:12:21.9] MF: That makes sense. One thing I always – why I haven’t jumped into property management myself is it seems like you do really have to scale to make decent money.

[0:12:30.2] SM: Exactly.

[0:12:30.9] MF: How many units do you think you would have to have for it to be worthwhile for you to manage properties for other people?

[0:12:36.1] SM: I mean, I would say if we dipped below a 100, I would just say this isn’t worth it. Keep in mind, one of the things that I’ve done all along is I would frankly discriminate based on the quality of home [inaudible 0:12:50.2]. If somebody calls me and says, “Hey, I have an issue with a tenant.” We’ll talk and we’ll see what we could do to help out. If I show up at the property and I see a roof that’s falling off, if I see siding that’s falling off, windows that – the place is falling apart, I mean, that’s going to eat up that management fee in one week of that particular month.

You’ve got to find properties that are self-sustaining and tenants that are going to take good care of the property. If you could do that, I mean your ability to scale is astronomical. With the sale market doing as well as they throughout our nation, the quality of tenant isn’t necessarily what it was seven years ago.  Because the folks that went through foreclosure were already bought, that were already good homeowners.

The great property, so once that’s repaired for already, owner occupied,  you really got to be careful in regards to the type of property you pick up, especially in this day and age, because it can stop money from your pocket, or put money in your pocket. You got to determine where that’s going to be.

[0:13:47.3] MF: That makes a lot of sense. One other question in the property management side , are you doing a lot of work yourself, or have you delegated most of it to other people to take care of it?

[0:13:55.2] SM: Yes. Our office, I have a staff of four. At one point, we managed about 200 properties in the Western Suburbs Chicago land area, which compared to other managers is huge, but at the same time my desire to scale to a 1,000 units was there. There is a few reasons for that. One is I like to have my hand in what I’m working with and have a certain control factor there. Part of that is just from a liability aspect, right?

I mean, I’ve talked to property managers that manage 1 to 2,000 units. Great. On that [inaudible 0:14:24.2], how did you scale to make that happen? Well, the process of scaling to make that happen, they also have their housing lot to see all sorts of issues with properties, because of the fact they worked there every day, or they worked playing in the game. They are trusting another people to take care of that.

That was another lead I was necessarily interested in, but certainly having four employees; I’ve got my finger on the pulse of what’s going on. We run a smooth organization and the other part of property management, we really have to talk about yet is just how technology has made everything more efficient on a property management perspective. For even landlords that probably have 10, 15 units, properties per se, I mean, they can manage those on their own this day and age without the need of a property manager, in my opinion.

I mean, you may be able to scale even larger than that, but our property managers are local, just based on a technological standpoint of just what’s available on the internet this day and age. That’s an exciting stuff too.

[0:15:24.6] MF: Yeah. It’s definitely changed a lot with from rent collections, screening tenants to so many different things. I mean, one thing I really want to talk to you too about was Chicago. I’ve heard a lot of horror stories about tenant laws there, about evictions, about how hard it is to manage properties in Chicago. Is it that bad there, or the stories overblown?

[0:15:45.2] SM: Well, just want to be part of few things with perspective. First of all, Chicago is a pro-tenant market. Frankly, our office we’re located about an hour west of Chicago proper, an hour’s drive west. We do try to stay out of the City of Chicago, because of some of the pro-tenancy aspects of the city itself.

Once again, outside of the City of Chicago or Cook County, ultimately the tenancy laws are much more relaxed. Aurora, Illinois is located in the county of Kane County. Frankly, Kane County, DuPage County, Will County, kind of the color counties, we really haven’t had any issues when it comes to evicting the tenants for unreasonable terms.

When you’re at the city of Chicago, I mean you need to pay through a sense, security deposit. You’ve got to make sure you’re supplying notice in a proper manner. You got to be much more detail-oriented. While there’s a ton of opportunities for managing properties, or even purchasing and investing in the City of Chicago, that’s something you want to sit down and talk to an attorney about that’s really specialized in evictions or real estate, generically is how the City of Chicago systems, or county systems are going to impact your business based on the level on which you want to invest.

Certainly, all I can maybe get some ideas here and there. It’s one of those things where I put the disclaimer, I’ll to talk an attorney first.

[0:17:04.9] MF: Right. How long can you give an estimate of just how long you think it would take to do an eviction in Chicago, in Cook County?

[0:17:13.1] SM: Well, I’d tell you what. I mean, frankly speaking we haven’t done an eviction within Cook County. Part of that is because we screen tenants as well, but the other part of it is because we stay out of Chicago proper. Now in the other counties, I’ve seen as little as 45 days. I’ve seen it as much in Will County to what was that? That was roughly five to six months. That was an eviction, where it was a funneling, where when the tenant pulled out, he hit the sheriff’s car with his moving truck and the sheriff went ballistic at him. Well, it was fun.

Yeah, at the end of the day those color counties, I’m not necessarily worried about. The City of Chicago, you got to be much more detail-oriented on. If you followed the rules of Cook County, I’m confident you could probably get an eviction done in under 90 days, but you just got to be detail-oriented in the process. It would be my food for thought.

[0:18:02.6] MF: Okay. That helps. I know there’s a lot of turnkey companies and companies selling rentals in Chicago and I think that’s something people should be aware about of the different qualities and making sure you have really good property manager in place if you do go that route.

[0:18:15.6] SM: Exactly. Your scalability is all based on how strong your operations are and then the location and numbers of which you’re buying. Certainly do your due diligence when you look at who’s managing your property. That’s the name of the game.

[0:18:28.5] MF: Speaking of the tenants and different evictions, I know you want to talk about this a little bit, but what have you guys done or learned over the years to find those good tenants and screen tenants?

[0:18:39.0] SM: Our process went from one that was entirely paper oriented 10 years ago, for one that’s entirely online now. Again, this touches on what I was talking about before was technology actually helps you scale.

One of the websites I’m a big fan of right now is rentapplication.net. Through that website, or they’re a Chicago-based company actually. You could build out your own rental application. Tenants take a picture and they upload in the last month and pay subs, they run a credit criminal eviction background check for $40 in adult. It’s basically a one-stop shop.

The issue we were having for years and years if I have a tenant apply for a property and I get the application in one day, and then a week later I got the pay subs, then two weeks later I get the credit report. By that point I’m like, “Well, I don’t even remember who you are or what you’re applying for.” It was frankly a disaster.

We tend to send folks to that website, get it all done and then in their cloud the application will actually be stored for a significant amount of time. I can’t remember what it is. That’s a few years. Naturally you want to download and keep it in a secure folder for whatever reason you might pertain to. That itself is a way things could go this age and age.

Now in terms of what we look for in a qualified tenant, ideally when it comes to income it’s going to be three times the rent amount in monthly net income. When it comes to credit score, ideally we like to see a 6.25 or higher, but I mean scores can vary for all sorts of reasons. Working on one and dig into that report and really make sure that they made on time payments for any card, or any credit line they may have over the last 12 months. If there’s a bankruptcy on there, I know it’s not going to be an immediate disqualification, but ultimately I want to make sure they have enough time to get back on track.

There is a little more flexibility there per se, but when folks ask me credit score, I always tell them 6.25 or higher. Eviction, naturally no eviction. I can’t tell you the number of times that we talked to folks that had an eviction on the background. Then ultimately, they come back to us and say, “Oh, that wasn’t me. I can explain that.” If you want to do your due diligence and seeing if that person is telling the truth or not, more power to you.

More often than that, there is already a line of five applicants applying for our rentals, so we tend to be best man up and we’ll take a look at that. Then when it comes to criminal background, it’s going to be a felony nationwide criminal background check.

Ideally, we’d like to see nothing on that report, but you’re going to have to determine as a landlord what you think is your cutoff point. You might see somebody with a DUI and you’re okay with that, is an acceptable tenancy measure. If you see somebody with domestic abuse, or God forbid murder or something, that could be a huge red flag per se. You’ll have to make your own call there.

One of the things that makes the Chicago land area a little bit different is that different villages have their own, let’s just call it rental restrictions. For instance, in the City of Aurora, we have to register our rental property with the village at $90 a year. They require you as the landlord and run criminal background checks and everyone over the age 18. Then there’s an addendum that landlord and tenant signs, which basically gives the police department a little bit of leverage if for some reason there’s criminal activity happening in that property.

Certainly in the Chicago land area and I’m confident in other areas the country have evolved to this, you’re going to want to check with your local municipality and just make sure you’re abiding by their rules. Because if you don’t, there’s typically huge fines associated to that, that can be serious though.

[0:22:08.4] MF: Cool. Yeah. Luck on if I say luckily, but we don’t have any registrations really here in Colorado yet that I know of. I know yes, quite a few other areas of the country do require you register rental properties, or even vacant houses. Like I used to be an REO broker, where I list huds and different foreclosures. In some areas of the country you had to register every single vacant house with a county so they knew about it. Yes, there is a lot to think about for sure.

[0:22:31.6] SM: Yeah. That vacant house measure is something that’s evolved out here as well. Again, it seems to be another money maker [inaudible 0:22:37.9]. You just got to make sure you’re on top of it as a broker or landlord.

[0:22:41.9] MF: Yup, exactly. Well, awesome information on the property management in your company. I guess, one thing I like to touch on too is your personal investing. I know you mentioned you had 23 properties now. Do you have any goals, or what’s your plan with your personal investing?

[0:22:56.3] SM: Yeah, it’s funny. When I got started in 2003 I told myself I’m going to own 10 properties in 10 years. By 2013 and I think I owned five properties, because just the tailspin in the economy. Then from 2013 on, it’s been awesome. I’m up to 23 properties and what will be 15 years in June, so I met my goal once again. I’m closing on a 15-unit a weeks here.

Really my goal is pretty much what so many of your listeners I’m sure are trying to meet. That’s using regular rental income cash flows to pay for their day-to-day lifestyle. I’m just about there, 2018 my goal is to be there. Then from there, I haven’t quite did it all out, but in terms of generic goals, I’d like to get into some real estate syndication activity, more partnerships specifically with folks that have expressed interest in investment for years and years. It might be tied up with their W2 job and are looking for that pathway out. I mean, I’d love to do that. At the same time, search the back. I live by the mantra, first you do, then you teach, then you serve. That’s how I see my life unfolding. All in good time, day by day.

[0:24:11.5] MF: Very cool. You said you’re buying a 16-unit, or your other 23 properties were they a mix of single family, multi-family? What are those like?

[0:24:18.8] SM: Really a mix of single family and condominium and town hall. The advantage, I’m more of a multi-family guy. Initially when I got started, I wasn’t so much like that. It was pretty much just like what’s the popular term in this day and age is how effective, right? What’s the best way to get me into this investment property with the least amount of money out of pocket, still deposit and cash flow?

That was my initial thought. About four years ago, I started learning about commercial financing, because everybody hits their limit with Freddie and Fannie and they’re looking for the next way out, and really man if I – It was one of those things. If you’re a new investor, I’d say talk to a commercial banker and start to learn those products, because I feel that has opened up a world of opportunity for me.

Then just having the ability to be a third-part property manager and managed 200 properties at one point, I have all the confidence in the world of growing my own inventory, bringing it up to a 100 units, dealing it with technology and I do like having the world being my only source. I guess, it’s what I’m busy doing.

[0:25:20.2] MF: Cool. Very cool.  You spoke about a 100 units. I’m just going to ask you what are your future plans right now? Are  you looking to grow the brokerage? It doesn’t sound like you want to go property management right now. What is your goals for your personal investing, or what are you looking at to do in the future?

[0:25:33.6] SM: Yeah. I mean, really my goal is personal investing and really being more of a commercial real estate broker here locally in the Chicago land area using multi-family as the niche. Using our property management skill set as a niche. What’s funny is I feel like there’s a lot of folks that want to get in to let’s say real estate syndication and they’ll be the capital raising guy, the deal-finding guy, but then they have to outsource the property management. That’s one of the things I think we can do here locally, where we can be the deal-finding guy, the capital-raising guy and do all the property management and house.

I feel that could give us an interesting opportunity. It’s something I’m working on going into 2018. I will say, as I’m sure in your market as well, multi-family is just red hot. It’s one of the numbers at this point, I’m just shaking my head and say, “Wow, I don’t know how somebody is asking this price and expecting that be buy or make money.” You just got to find that off market deal, or that motivated seller if it all makes sense. That’s really what we’ve been doing is really targeting more off market, multi-family landlords that are on the smaller scale that have ideally owned their building for let’s say 15, 20 years and taking advantage of the depreciation aspects and ideally we’ll have every incentive of the world ideally to sell at that point and cash out. Yeah, that’s what we’re currently working on.

[0:26:51.5] MF: Yeah. Very tough here as well for multi-family. I bought 16 rentals from 2010 to 2015 and they’re all single family, because even back then in Colorado, multi-families always just been super expensive here. I made more money with single family rentals than what I have with multi-family. Now it’s even worse. It’s just crazy.

[0:27:11.7] SM: Yeah, it is crazy and it’s one of those things where you can look at the secondary markets to some degree, or just look into different forms of real estate investment. Again, for us mostly is targeting the off-market stop and trying to use a line of credit to purchase those properties. Yeah, we’ll see where it goes this year on top.

[0:27:29.5] MF: Nice. Very cool. Well, I guess one last question I have for you, something that I know has been super helpful to me is how important do you think it has been to your personal investing to have your real estate license?

[0:27:42.2] SM: That’s a great question. It’s funny, going back to 2006 I originally got my license and like, “Oh, it’s going to make me a better investor.” I’m going to have access to multiple listing service here locally. I’m going to know what’s on the market. At that time, that made sense. Now this day and age, the multiple listing service in my opinion is basically realtor.com and Zillow.

Information has just gotten to be more and more available to the consumer. Because of that, you don’t necessarily need your license to get access to properties that are on the MOS. I can lead in a whole other discussion of where real estate agency you might go in the next 20 years with technology and  having information available.

You can use those as tools locally to find the MLS deals. What I would do and again, this is where our marketplace is at, I would go after the off-market deals and that’s finding folks that have a motivation to sell fairly soon and that can cover a whole gamete of different individuals and you really had to target where you want that to be based on where you’re comfortable investing.

If I was somebody that did not have a license, I wouldn’t necessarily go out and chase the real estate license, unless I planned on making a career out of it. I would really focus on finding the off-market deals. I think that’s where we’re at here locally.
[0:28:58.9] MF: That makes a lot of sense. Well, Sean like I said, I think that was the last question I had for you. Anything else you want to mention or talk about that we didn’t go over?

[0:29:07.6] SM: The only other thing I would mention is I launched a podcast just a few months back called Landlording for Life. You can find it on iTunes, you can find it on Stitcher. Really what we’re looking for is helping the mom and pop landlord find better tools to sharpen their system. If you go to iTunes and search Landlording for Life, you’ll find it there. I hope you enjoy  the material. We worked hard at it, so hopefully it available resource for folks.

[0:29:32.7] MF: Very cool. Then I suppose if somebody wanted to – help from an agent in your area, they can always contact you as well for that.

[0:29:39.3] SM: Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. You can check out our website. It’s Chicago-realty-group.com. All our stuff is on there from podcast to turnkey real estate, to helping buyers and sellers and property management. Yeah, certainly reach out and if there is anything we can do to help you out wherever you’re at, we’ll go from there.

[0:29:58.0] MF: Cool. Awesome, Sean. Well, really appreciate you being on the show. A lot of great information. It sounds like you’ve done very well and been smart about your investing and your business as well with what you take on and don’t take on. Yeah, I learned a lot myself and thanks again for being on the show.

[0:30:13.1] SM: Thanks for having me. This was fun.

[0:30:14.7] MF: Cool. We’ll have your contact information in the show notes, so people can check that out and get links to all of your stuff. Then yeah, hopefully things keep going well for you. Like you said spring come soon in Chicago.

[0:30:26.5] SM: Yeah. Only in a few months and before we know baseball will be here.

[0:30:31.9] MF: That’s right. Cool. Well, thanks again Sean. Really appreciate it. We’ll have to keep in touch here for sure.
[0:30:36.9] SM: All right. Thanks so much. Have a great day.

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