Monthly Archives: June 2011

NNN Investments – Drive Thru Cash Flow

Most of the cold calling I do is to apartment and office building owners. Almost 90% of the owners I get to talk to aren’t really interested in selling. In fact they’re usually pretty rude about it hehe. But if they were, they’d either only sell at a really high price or just to be able to exchange into a property where they’d be able to enjoy the cash flow of their investment without any headaches. These are people who own and manage multiple properties and always have to deal with minor management chores like collecting rent, paying their upside-down mortgage, finding new tenants, fixing broken toilets, dealing with contractors and so on. So, naturally, you can imagine why a management-free investment would sound amazing to someone who absolutely hates the management aspect of owning real estate.

Over the last few months, I’ve confirmed a rising new popularity amongst my clients towards NNN investments. A NNN (triple-net) leased investment is where the tenant of the property not only pays the landlord rent, but also pays for the maintenance of the building, property insurance, and property taxes. This lets the investor or property owner simply sit back and collect the rent without having any management duties whatsoever. Most of the time you’ll see major fast-food chains or franchise stores on these types of leases; Burger King, Starbucks, Taco Bell, Carl’s Jr., Walgreens, etc. .

Since I listed a Del Taco property in Riverside County in May, I’ve had the pleasure of speaking with hundreds of different investors who really only play with these types of properties. I asked them how they got into it in the first place and 9 times out of 10 they’d say they sold property that they inherited or owned before (usually apartments) and traded into NNN deals because it was easy to manage. They’d say that although they could be making a little more money in another product type like apartment buildings, this was the safest bet for their retirement.

Why are NNN deals so “safe”? Well, for starters, if a corporate-backed franchisee of, oh, let’s say McDonald’s couldn’t pay their rent, there would have to be some pretty epic economic catastrophe to explain it, right? We as Americans love our fast food. We love our coffee. We love drive-thru. Doesn’t matter if you’re rich, poor, black, white, fat, skinny…at some point in time (some more than others) everyone goes to these restaurants. It’s probably one of the very few industries that make a huge profit in a good economy and an even bigger profit in a bad economy. So, you can be sure that as a landlord, you’re pretty much guaranteed income for as long as you own it. It’s sort of the “low risk, low reward” alternative to real estate investing. If you put your money in a bank, the most you could get is maybe 2% return on your money? If you bought an office building, depending on the kind of deal you made, you’re maybe getting somewhere from 7.5-10% on your money? With a NNN deal like the Del Taco I’m currently selling, you’re making between 6-7% return without having to worry about a single thing.

I find it kind of funny that major fast food and pharmacy chains not only make the consumers’ lives “easier” and more “convenient”, but their landlords’ lives too. It’s like drive-thru cash flow!

That’s all the rambling I’ve got for now. I’ll have an update as soon as the deal is sold.

What kind of brokers do you work with?

With this being the first actual post on this blog, I want to introduce myself briefly and give the readers some insight on a part of the commercial real estate investment world that many typical investors and brokers don’t really pay much attention to. Sorry for the length…I’ll keep them short from now on, I promise.

If you’re a savvy investor or broker and feel like this post might be useless to you, keep reading. If you’re an agent, read on and take notes! This may be interesting to anyone trying to get ahead in real estate.

So, in case you don’t know me or anything about me, I’m a commercial real estate agent in Los Angeles, CA with a strong focus on apartment, office, and distressed properties (yes, I’ll even do a residential short sale deal here and there). My business model is pretty much based around market research, cold calling and word of mouth referrals. That means I spend a ridiculously large portion of my day on the phone and computer…calling, texting, emailing, researching, skyping, facebooking, chatting and eventually meeting with clients or potential clients. The whole point of all of this is to constantly be in touch with owners/investors and share some newsworthy information, learn about new developments, and just generally have my finger on the pulse of the local market. That’s one of the things that help make brokers like me market experts.

In the real estate brokerage game, “information” is just as precious as “location”. You could hire your broker of 30 years to list your property for sale, but chances are it’s the young, energetic guys who keep in constant contact with the active owners in the marketplace that will really sell your deal. It’s simple…because they talk to more people (who are target buyers) and have information on everyone within the market, they can give you more exposure. Because they give you more exposure, they’re able to attract more interested buyers to your deal. More buyers means more demand. Demand means a bidding war. And as we in the eBay generation already know, bidding wars turn out nice for the person that’s selling.

Real estate agents aren’t as completely useless as they might seem. The right agent can really help you make extremely solid investments that will keep you wealthy for a lifetime and then some. However, not every agent can do the job as effectively. What’s the difference between agents who proactively get in front of owners and someone who just got their license in the “good old days” and hung it with their friend who was a broker? EVERYTHING.

First off, product specialization and focus play a huge role in the effectiveness of a real estate professional. You wouldn’t go to a cardiologist if you have a brain tumor for the same reason you wouldn’t list your medical office building with the nice lady who sold you your home. It just doesn’t make sense! I’ve met with sellers whose main objection to listing their property with me was, “Well, my brother has his license so I have to list my office building with him”. That’s great Mr. Seller…what type of real estate does your brother focus on? “Oh he’s not even really active in real estate he’s actually a dentist.” Nice. This particular client ended up never selling the property and in fact lost the property to the bank. His agent/brother had put the property on the market at a random price that he and the owner felt looked pretty on paper and the deal never got any attention because it was grossly overpriced.

Some of the most successful real estate investors I’ve met and worked with are the ones who treat everybody with respect and take the time to understand professionalism and make an impression on each and every single person they come in contact with. Have you ever wondered how some of these real estate guys came by these incredible deals where they made millions and all of a sudden dominate the market? It wasn’t done by hanging up on cold callers. These are individuals with top-notch social skills who welcome every opportunity to meet someone new and figure out how to make money with them. They probe around cleverly and use their smooth charisma to form working relationships with anybody who can possibly benefit them (which is pretty much anyone who is active in the market). The end result? Everybody wants to work with them. Everybody shows them deals. In effect, they get what they want which is the opportunity to make a ton of money.

So with that being said, some of you reading this probably get cold calls from me or my competitors…you know, those obnoxious guys who call you and as soon as they say anything like “property” or “real estate” you say, “NOT INTERESTED BYEEE!” and hang up on them…yea, those are actual real estate professionals that you can benefit from. Just because they’re fishing for listings it doesn’t mean you have to shut yourself out from talking to them completely. Get to know them. They know the tiny little details that will make you money. Plus, the success of your investment might be in their hands one day.

Oh, and if you’re still reading this, please feel free to throw in your two cents.