Landing Your First Deal with Anthony Vicino and Trevor Thompson

Episode 157 of the Diary of an Apartment Investor with Anthony Vicino and Trevor Thompson. Transcript by – please forgive any errors.

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Brian Briscoe 0:00

We got Anthony on the line, what do you want to ask him?

Trevor Thompson 0:02

It's been it's really, really struggling to get that first deal.

Anthony Vicino 0:06

You have no control over when that perfect deal is going to come up. And so in the meantime, you really need to be working on two things in particular one is honing your skills and honing your network using this time to say, okay, the deals are going to come, I don't have control over that. But in the meantime, here's what I'm going to work on. Here's what I'm really good at, like identify your strengths and identify your weaknesses, and then use that as a template to go and find the perfect partner who has all the complimentary strengths and weaknesses.

Brian Briscoe 0:44

Welcome to the Diary of an Apartment Investor Podcast with your host Brian Briscoe. In this podcast we bring some of the top professionals in the apartment investment field to discuss various aspects of the apartment investing journey, with the sole purpose of educating listeners to make wise investment decisions. The Diary of an Apartment Investor podcast is sponsored by Four Oaks Capital, bringing you high yield returns through apartment complex investing. This is journal entry number 157. And part of our Ask the Expert series today will bring an experienced investor Anthony Pacino and aspiring investor Trevor Thompson. Keep listening to hear more about how to land your first deal. And now, this show. Welcome to the diary and apartment investor podcast. I'm your host Brian brisco. With aurochs capital. Super excited for today's show. It's another one of our Ask the Expert episodes. We have two great people on the line with us. We got Anthony Vicino and Trevor Thompson with us. First of all, Anthony is a best selling author, real estate investor serial entrepreneur, committed to helping people maximise their return on life. Sounds like a great metric. I think we will probably talk about that a little bit. He's co founding partner of Invictus capital, a multifamily acquisition firm based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with 15 million in assets under management that provides busy working professionals with the opportunity to invest better. He's also the host of the multifamily investing Made Simple podcast, author of passive investing Made Simple, and he believes that investing shouldn't be complicated and scary or overwhelming. So that said, Anthony, welcome to the show. Yeah, thank you so much for having me, man. I appreciate it. Yeah, it's it's always fun. I think, you know, I I've seen you a lot on Instagram. A little less on LinkedIn. But I know you're there a lot to and, you know, happy to finally air quotes meet you. So welcome. Yeah,

Anthony Vicino 2:29

thanks. Yeah, it's a virtual meeting. It's in, you know, in the last year and a half. That's like, the real way to meet people now is on zoom.

Brian Briscoe 2:35

No, I know. Right? You know, and I do something crazy. I actually went and I had lunch with somebody last Whoa. Yeah. That's all I know. It was just like, you know, hey, I've got this idea. I'm gonna be like, five miles from where you live. Let's see we get together and eat together. Yeah. And it was just like, a foreign concept. So Incidentally, I mean, this is this is very coincidental, but three weeks ago released a podcast with experienced aspiring investor, just like this. had lunch with the experienced investor on that episode two days ago and the aspiring investor in the same episode. I'm having lunch with tomorrow, so Oh, very cool. Yeah. So Quinn's very coincidental But anyway, let's talk about you. So rich, read your bio, and I think something was missing. There's also a brain dump podcast. You guys just started, right?

Anthony Vicino 3:23

Yeah. So earlier, in 2021, Austin Linney and I, we started a podcast called brain dump, which is all about studying the psychology of success. But success is such a, it's such a loosey goosey thing. And we all get to define how we want to. And so really, the podcast is about exploring topics, deep topics that I think affect us all things like, you know, vulnerability and what it means to achieve things. But then to lack fulfilment, and those achievements, and how that can be a real crisis of identity. And so that's been a really fun project for sure.

Brian Briscoe 3:57

Yeah. Now, I've listened to a couple of episodes, I think when it launched, I listened to your your first episode, and it's been a couple hours in the car, you know, at home and listen to a couple more and something, something I really liked. And I mean, listeners don't know this, but we just talked about it. But I love the call to action. And then at the end, you're the podcast. Outro. You know, you come on, you're like, Hey, guys, you just listened to this, but it's not going to help you if you guys don't do anything about it. So very much appreciate that. And I might just steal that I might change my outro a little later and just say, Hey, guys, write something down, do something new, I very much appreciate that. I think that was a pro tip right there for anybody else.

Anthony Vicino 4:32

Yeah. And maybe to like, unpack that just a little bit for your audiences, you know, you're listening and you're consuming and you're getting a tonne of great information from Brian and all his guests. And like education is important. But unless you go and apply that then you know, it's just kind of wasted energy. And one of the ways that you can apply that and really make sure it sinks in is to take notes and then create action steps out of that such you say, I really liked what Trevor said about this thing. I'm going to go put that into action in this way and it Just increases your likelihood of actually gaining forward momentum. You

Brian Briscoe 5:04

know, and momentum is huge in this business. You know, at first I thought if I just learn a little bit more, if I just learn a bit of that I think a lot of people fall into that most people call analysis paralysis, or vice versa. But for the longest time, I was thinking, you know, if I learn a little bit more, I'll be able to, you know, complete everything, but what I didn't realise is number one, it's a momentum game. And number two, he actually learned more by doing, you know, you learn more by, you know, picking up the phone, making your first phone call to a broker, or, you know, emailing your first offer to a broker, you know, mine was horrendous, but, you know, I learned a lot and it started it was momentum. For me, it's what it was that was getting the ball rolling type of thing, even though it was a terrible offer, you know, nothing backed up the number. But yeah, let's not talk about that anymore. That's embarrassing. No, just kidding. But anyway, tell us a little bit about yourself. I get this idea, your background and what got you into multifamily investing? Yeah, so

Anthony Vicino 5:58

you know, going back to my earliest years, so I have severe ADHD. And that's been a kind of a defining thing of my life. So what that meant is coming out of college at all these degrees, but I knew that I wasn't really cut out to go the corporate route and working for other people, I had a, you know, just, I wouldn't say this issue with authority. But I definitely had this ability with being reliable and focused and in following through, and those don't make for a good employee. And so coming out of college, I knew I had to find my own path through through the world. And what I really valued a lot with time, freedom and location, freedom, the ability to just to go and travel where I want when I wanted to. So for the next decade, I travelled as a professional rock climber, I just had, you know, an innate ability there that I was blessed with, I could kind of grow in to be a professional rock climber sounds kind of cool. But really all it means is that you live in the back of a van for 200 days out of the year, and you live in the dirt. And it's not like super glorious, but it was my life. And I had full control over it. And that's what I really valued. But there came this point where I had to crawl out of the dirt, so to speak, because I wanted to marry this woman and her parents said, Well, what are you going to do to provide for her? And I was like, well, that's a really good question. At that point. I didn't have a good answer. So I just went into the toolbox of skills that I had, and I was a writer. So I was like, Okay, well, maybe I'll start writing books. And that's what I did. I started writing science fiction, fantasy novels. And a couple years later, those were doing pretty well, the girl left me, but the books were doing well. And that was great. But when the girl left me, you know, I was in this place where it's like, well, what's next? Like, I did this thing, because it was, it was for somebody else. It was gonna get me this and but I needed to find that next thing. And at that point in my life, a buddy came to me and he said, Hey, well, let's build a window washing company together. And I was like, Okay, alright. Yeah, that's unique. That's, that's cool. Let's try that. And it was a good intersection of our skill sets. We were rock climbers. So we're good on roads, we could get up into these, these places that other people couldn't get, we could get there quickly, we had a good network. And we built this really successful business out of just, you know, ropes and washing windows with squeegees and soap. And it was like, that ignited this interest, this love affair with building businesses. And so that's what I've been doing for the last decade is building increasingly complex businesses. And then real estate came into my life. And real estate was the coolest business because it's so simple and straightforward. But you can do so much with it. So it's like Legos. Like when you were a kid, if you loved Legos, it wasn't because they were these complicated things. It's because they went together in simple ways that allowed your imagination to flourish. And that's what real estate investing was, for me, I was like, wow, you can really do anything here. And so I started with small multifamily, and then started scaling from there. And that's just, you know, kind of my story is like, one of trying to find my own path and real estate. I'm super fortunate that I found it when I did, because I feel like the universe tried to put it in front of me at a couple different points in my life, and I kept ignoring it. So I was in college, and my roommate and his dad were doing fix and flips. And I was like, yeah, that's cool. But I, I really hate construction. I'm really not cut out for that. And that was my impression of what what real estate was. So for the next decade, I was like, No, I want to do that. And then a buddy came to me, and he's like, do you want to buy quads? And I was like, Well, that doesn't sound super fun. But I'll give you some money. So I was passively passively investing before I even knew what that was. And, and then, you know, you're just in the right place at the right time, the universe puts the message in front of you one last time, and then you get the hint. And that for me that moment was I don't know what that moment is to be honest. But the story that I tell is that I was driving in the downtown Minneapolis looked up at the skyline and it was hit with that question, like who actually owns all these buildings, right? Like at that point, like I was like, 35 years old, I'd never really stopped to consider that question. Yeah. And then digging into that, that's really what unlocked multifamily investing. And that's all just history from there.

Brian Briscoe 9:57

Nice. Nice. Incidentally, I spent a little bit of time in the Twin Cities area. I was a student at the University of Minnesota for a little while. Very good. Yeah. So I know that skyline very well. That was long before I was pondering things. Like who owns those buildings? I was more pondering things like math equations, which sounds so weird now. I mean, 20 years removed. It's just like I did. I did that really? Anyway. Yeah. So so great story. You know, I like it, you know, serial entrepreneur built beginning. And I'll be honest, when you said I was a professional rock climber, you know, the first thing that came through my mind is, Wow, that sounds cool. So I'm glad. Yeah, I'm glad to do that disclaimer in there. I'm like, yeah, let's, let's bring that down a little like, it sounds cool. I bet it is. I mean, that sounds it does sound cool. But But yeah, so so cool. Now and so let's talk a little bit more about, you know, you're getting into the multifamily investing. Tell us a little bit about how that came about. And, you know, one of the properties or two, if you would,

Anthony Vicino 10:52

yeah, so my my beginning was house hacking an FHA loan on a triplex, I wanted to get in there, get my hands dirty, and learn the processes, with the idea that I was always going to start scaling into larger multifamily. Because there's, there's a lot of benefits that come from scale. And I'm not necessarily talking like, own 100 or 200, unit apartment building, it was always Okay, let's get over that five unit hurdle so that we can get to that commercial loan valuation methodology. And so I did that for a little bit, and then did a cash out refinance, roll that money into the next property, which is a little bit bigger, and then did that same process again, and just kept rolling it forward. And in the early days, for the first, you know, five, or six deals, it was all with my own money. And then with started bringing on Joint Venture Partners, like family members who we could take down these deals together. And then at the end of 2019, I partnered with my partner, Dan Kruger to form Invictus capital. And we did our first syndication in January 2020. And that's where we took for the very first time, you know, completely passive investors, capital people that we didn't necessarily know before that it was like a lot of first ring relationships. But now we're bringing in people that we didn't know. And it took us a long time to get to that place where we were comfortable even doing that, because we're vertically integrated. So we do all the property management in house, we have that we have employees hired for that specific purpose. So we wanted to be really certain that we could do right by our investors, because when I was a professional rock climber, like going back to that, like I was really in debt, I so I know, like the value of $1. And like how far that can go in your life. And so when somebody is trusting us with their money, we look at that as like this very sacred responsibility, because it's not just $1, it's actually there a little bit of their time and their life that they exchanged for it. And so it took us a long time to feel comfortable actually bringing in passive investors. But that's been our process. Now we now syndicate almost full time, we still do a mix of joint ventures. But in the last year or so we've we've acquired around 100 units spread across smaller multifamily, I would say we specialise in that 20 to 40 unit range, because it's kind of an underserved demographic, we really like that there's a lot of meat on the bone, typically, and not a lot of competition from big institutional investors. And we do this all in our backyard here in Minnesota. So it's a lot of people don't think of Minnesota as being like a really great investment location. And that's great for us, because it just means a little bit less competition.

Brian Briscoe 13:14

Yeah. You know, but you know, Minneapolis, St. Paul still has some of the lowest cap rates in the nation. So I mean, there's a lot of good stuff going down there. It's a very robust economy. I mean, granted, it's been 20 years since I've been there, but it's a bustling, bustling area. Yeah.

Anthony Vicino 13:30

And all the reasons that were strong. 20 years ago, they remain strong. It's it's super interesting. once people start digging into what makes Minneapolis and St. Paul such an interesting market, they start to go, Wait, where? Why haven't I heard of this before? And it's like, it's interesting. If you look at all these top 10 lists, miniapp like the Twin Cities usually comes in somewhere at like, eighth or ninth on the list. And people just don't look that deep on the list. Usually, they're like, if it's not the top three, if it's not Austin, Nashville or San Antonio, like, Who cares? It's like, I don't know, top 10 still pretty good.

Brian Briscoe 13:59

I mean, I mean, here's the other fact you got to look at is when you look at those top 10 lists. You got sunbelt, you got nine sunbelt cities in Minneapolis. And most people are like, yeah, I'll just stick in the Sunbelt, you know, I'll go where it's warm and sunny, not where it's, you know, negative 17 degrees, you know, on a warm morning in December. So, yeah, I think the area's super nice. And I know a lot of people who are investing that area. And I think maybe I'll stop saying that just so I can guard your your little

Anthony Vicino 14:26

gas stop sending people to us. But what's interesting is it is it is a bit of like a locals market in the sense that a lot of the things transact off market if you have to know the players, and there's in most cities, there's probably 10 or 12 people who control the vast majority of the supply in that market. And if you don't know them, then it's gonna be really hard to transact with them. And so we're in a fortunate position because Minnesotans they like to deal with other Minnesotans and so a lot of those old guys that have been in the business for 30 plus years and they have 1000s of units just and they're they're looking to, you know, ride off into the sunset now and start to, you know, sell off their portfolio, we're the first people that they call because we're, we're the locals and they like locals.

Brian Briscoe 15:08

Yeah, you know, and the other thing you said, I mean, you're talking about the 20 to 40 unit neat niche, I think that's a dead zone, I think you hit the nail on the head, you know, it's, it's, it's a little bit, it's out of the reach of, you know, a lot of your high income professionals, you know, a lot of doctors and lawyers and such, will, will take some of their excess capital and poured into real estate. But, you know, 20 is usually you know, about the limit, you know, maybe they can get a 12 Plex or something like that. And you're right, the, the bigger guys don't play in that 40. And we've got a handful of assets in that range. And the thing that we've had the hard time is finding a management company that does well on that side. And sounds like you guys, yeah, you guys hit that you've already figured that out vertically integrated. So

Anthony Vicino 15:51

yeah, and, and vertically integrating with the idea that if we can cluster our properties and particular neighbourhoods that we really like, then they're functionally like owning a large complex. And so that takes understanding the neighbourhood, and then also being boots on the ground local there. And so we get to play to all our unique strengths and avoid all our weaknesses, which, you know, we have many weaknesses, so it's good to try to avoid them.

Brian Briscoe 16:15

You know, and our last two acquisitions, we had a 40 unit and a 28 unit. And I mean, we're looking for the the triple digit number units, but what we really liked about these units is both of more within a half mile of an 80 plus unit apartment complex that we already owned. And that was our philosophy as well, it's like, you know, it's a 40 unit, which we wouldn't normally look at, but it's a 40 unit three blocks from an 80. And like a 120. It's kind of like a 120. Exactly, you know, and the The 28 is a couple of blocks from another 80 plus unit. And it's kind of like a, you know, another 120? Yeah, and

Anthony Vicino 16:50

what's interesting there is, when you're a lot of newer investors, they get it in their head that they have to start with 100 or 200 units. And that can be, that can be a hard first jump. But if you start thinking about it, like well, maybe we piece together 40, and then a 20, and another 30, like you can get there quicker without having to make these quantum leaps between.

Brian Briscoe 17:09

Yeah, you know, there's, there's different philosophies of doing it. That's how we chose to do it. I mean, our first was, we bought two properties in a portfolios, a 39, and a 16. You know, so, you know, not, not huge properties by any stretch of the imagination. And then from there, we ended up scaling to where, you know, the, the one that we're closing on in a couple of weeks is 144, you know, so you can still get there. And I also know, people who have done the 100 plus in their first first deal, and my hat's off to him, it's usually co GP with somebody bigger, somebody who's been there, and you know, nothing wrong with that, either. That's, that's also a very, very valid way of getting in. I mean, bottom line, there's lots of ways to do it. I think, I think the way you did it is respectable, and it's it's something that you start small, and you keep on rolling into something bigger, rolling into something bigger rolling. I think that's a very responsible way of scaling. You know, you don't, you don't jump into that 120 unit and realise, Oh, my gosh, this is difficult, because you've had that that chance with the three Plex, you know, that FHA loan, three Plex, and then, you know, move on from there. But

Anthony Vicino 18:17

yeah, it's one of the hardest things and I learned this, you know, I have a manufacturing business and one of the things that we've always been so is in the struggle is like not outgrowing yourself and growing too quickly. And like, we have very ambitious growth goals and places that we want to be with, you know, our portfolio. But we also recognise that we're limited based off of the fact that we have property management in house. And so when we add 100 units on, we've also added on 100 units of actual operational work. And so we need to be be sure that we can take that on. So it slows our growth, but what it does in the long term is it allows us to go a little bit faster. On a 10 year horizon, I think it's like, Tony Robbins probably said it where it's like, we underestimate or overestimate what we can do in a year underestimate what we can do in five and so we always take like that, that 510 year horizon and try to build for that rather than for the one year so we're, we're a little slower out of the gates than other people typically. But you know, we've been doing this for six or seven years and we're happy with where we're at. You

Brian Briscoe 19:14

know, and I'll tell you something that you Me and my partners have talked about a lot is eventually vertically integrating you know, and it's something that you know, if you're scaling once you get to a certain point it makes sense for a lot of reasons to to vertically integrate I mean you guys you know, knock that knocked out of the park early on and yeah, I think it's a good way to grow you know, you already said it's a slower growth but nothing wrong with that. Yeah,

Anthony Vicino 19:38

we'll put up it's it's funny because building out the property management is just like hiring you either do it too soon, or you do it too late. Those are the only options. Yeah. And so like, we went into it knowing we're gonna do it too soon. And that's okay. We're gonna we're gonna grow into this. And for us, that was saving us the opportunity cost of waiting till too late, which we're going to pay the cost one way or the other. It's just a matter of when or Picking the wrong property manager, which you know a lot of people do. Yeah, we've bounced around from property management company, I think we found one that we found one that we really like so far. been with them for three months now. And I think that's going to be a game changer for us.

Brian Briscoe 20:13

That's alright, so So that's it. Let's, let's talk about what I like to call your big burning. Why? And he talked a little bit about why earlier, but if you could distil it down, talk about, you know, a couple sentences or less, what's your why

Anthony Vicino 20:26

I think my my big Why is helping people maximise their return on life. And for me, when I think about my life, and the places that I was the most stressed out and lost, it had to do with money, like being in debt, and being a rock climber. And like, not knowing what I was supposed to be doing with my money investing in all these things, it was so overwhelming. And so when I look around it like my family, I have eight brothers and sisters, big military family, and most of them, actually, all of them don't don't know what they're doing with their money, they don't have a financial plan for retirement, they're just kind of doing what they've been told. And I look at that, and like, Okay, this is a problem that I can help solve, I can help them solve this. And that's my big burning y is to help them remove the financial burden from their life so that they are free to focus on solving the problems that mean the most to them. So without having to worry about like, Where am I? Am I saving enough? Am I on track for retirement, and not having to take jobs because it pays the best, but you know, because it means the most to them? So that's, that's my big burning Why?

Brian Briscoe 21:27

Yeah, I love it. I love it. And I grew up my kids grew up in a military family, you know, my dad worked for the post office for 30 something years, and we never talked about money in my house. I mean, it was, you know, when we did talk about money, it was, you know, how little there was, you know, but, you know, I find I find the same thing, you know, now as a 40 something year old guy, my siblings and my, my, my wife siblings, are asking me for the advice, how should we set up our investments? How should we do this? How should we do that? You know, and I think you're right, a lot of people just don't learn that, you know, it's not, it's not taught in school. And if it was taught in school, I'd wonder, you know, what curriculum that use Anyway, you know, it's kind of the probably the conventional wisdom index funds, you know, throw all your money in index funds, set it and forget it. But so what's next for you?

Anthony Vicino 22:11

So you know, we're a couple of things is one we're publishing a book in next month, called passive investing Made Simple. And that's been the the work of the last year and a half in conjunction with Jake and Gino, because passive investing for me is like one of the best investment vehicles out there. I think it's the best, but you know, I won't get on my soapbox. But the problem is that most people don't realise it's out there or that it's accessible, it feels overwhelming. It's not part of the mainstream dialogue. And so that's, that's our attempt to help just add another resource into the community for people just to, to be having an opportunity to see that this is something that they could participate in. So, you know, there's that aspect of it. And then right now, we're in a growth phase, and still just acquiring here in the Twin Cities. And one of the coolest things, is when when you get to the point where you can start to hire and bring people into your, your company into your community, and start to positively impact the lives of your employees, your residents, your investors. And like, for us, we've been we're at that point now where we're, we're growing as a family as a team. And that's that's just such a rewarding thing to be able to look and say like, wow, we're in this together and like, I don't know, just there's there's something about leaving a meaningful impact on as many lives as possible. That's like, super compelling to me at this point. And so that's where that's what we're really focused on right now.

Brian Briscoe 23:34

Yeah, yeah. Well, a lot of good stuff there. So Jake and Gino I bought tickets for their I think they have an October. Gala. Are you gonna be there? Yeah, I suppose I supposed to be on the stage at some point doing something. I don't know. Maybe. Yeah. Maybe you can actually, you know, meeting, please. We should get lunch if that's Yeah, I mean, if possible, can we can I think so? I think we're I think we're gonna make it happen. That'd be Trevor, you're going to you're going to be there too. I'm going to be there. So as long as the lunch we're good. We got guys. Yeah, lunch date already set. So Orlando, right. Yeah, I think so. Yep. All right. Great. Yeah. So I might as well it's gonna be on now. Yeah, it's gonna be gonna be a blast. I love the Jake and Gino community. I mean, they've got a bunch of raving fans. And, you know, part of me just wants to see you know, why, why everybody I talked to about Jake and Gino just loved the programme, you know, so

Anthony Vicino 24:26

we do it right, because they're there. It's not a puppy mill. They're not trying to just turn out students that are paying them and maybe going to do deals with them in the future. Like, they just want to see you succeed. They they want genuinely for you to succeed in that. It's just refreshing. And honestly like, when it comes to getting the education or getting proximity to networks. Like it's hard to do better than that. Yeah.

Brian Briscoe 24:50

Yeah. So anyway, I'm excited and glad that you guys both are gonna be there. So you know there's two people I know already. Boom, the introvert in me is going to be just fine showing up to this event.

Anthony Vicino 25:02

Yep, I will come and find you Brian. Don't worry. I'll rescue you. perv introverts we will unite. We Yeah, separately in our basically our

Brian Briscoe 25:10

own over zoom. But instead with Yes, yeah, but yeah, totally, totally. Alright, so let's let's formally introduce Trevor. Now, Trevor not new to real estate at all. He's been an LP in 13 syndications, you know, between, you know, multifamily and different property types. He's got a single family rental portfolio fund that he's invested in, and you know, a whole bunch of other stuff. You know, we might talk about a little bit of that, but he's now looking to get into the GP side of multifamily. So, Trevor, welcome to the show. Awesome. It's great to be here. Yeah. Great to have you on here. And you're in one of the hottest cities for real estate, you know, in the nation right now. I mean, we talked about how Minnesota is getting hot, but you're in Austin. Wow.

Trevor Thompson 25:53

Yeah. Yeah, it's absolutely insane here. So clearly, I'm not looking at anything interesting. Yeah, right.

Brian Briscoe 25:59

I mean, I mean, we were talking about Ilan Musk, you know, prior to hitting the record button. But you he went on record a couple months ago and said, you know, Austin is going to be the hottest city in the next 10 years. You know, so if you believe Ilan Musk is a prophet. I mean, he believes in Austin, enough to drop a, you know, multi billion dollar Tesla facility there. So I guess so. But,

Trevor Thompson 26:22

yeah, he's got to know something. Yeah. And a lot of it here as well.

Brian Briscoe 26:26

Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. So, yeah, a lot of exciting stuff happening in your neck of the woods. But let's talk about you tell us a little bit about yourself.

Trevor Thompson 26:34

Yeah, so I have a very short and eclectic life. But there's a lot more. So I'm Canadian, originally. So we're very close to Minnesota and we all sort of talk and eat pig grow. So that's great. I've been in the attraction business my whole life. So started at age 13. With Ripley's Believe it or not, age 18 worked for Guinness World Records for 18 years, nice. Moved to Orlando, Florida, and of all things opened up a haunted house. And then across the street, they opened this strange thing called indoor skydiving. And I got recruited by a headhunter and spent the last 21 years working with them. And sadly, that ended my career. But it also started another career, because the owner of that company really wanted to talk to people about investing. And so he bought us all the purple Bible. Robert Kiyosaki his book. Yeah, and he bought all the employees that he had a financial advisor, come and talk to us. And although I was too busy still doing my life to be serious, I knew it was something that I needed to do. And I just, again, I was busy doing my life. And I didn't do it. And it was always in the back of my mind.

Brian Briscoe 27:51

Yeah, you know, you talked about the indoor skydiving. COVID kind of I lived right next to one in the DC or in gaithersburg. And I think we talked about it earlier, you know, several months ago, actually. But two Christmases ago, I told my daughter, you know, I'm like he she was 17 at the time, part of your Christmas present is I'll take you to that indoor skydiving place, and we'll just have a blast. And two months later, everything shut down because of COVID. And it hadn't opened up before we left. But yeah, we moved out of there too. Not too long ago. But anyway. Yeah, I'm a little disappointed. I wanted to try that indoor skydiving thing. But there'll be another time. Right. But yeah, interesting. I mean, your boss buys everybody. The Rich Dad Poor Dad, which I don't know if that helps retention or not. I mean, everybody starts reading it. And they're like, I'm working for him. What?

Trevor Thompson 28:36

Yeah, yeah. He, you know, he wanted to inspire people to be entrepreneurial. And so I give him that. I mean, and I already was, you know, I was pretty active and doing different things. And I've had a few consulting businesses in between there and, but it, it opened my eyes to the real estate for sure.

Brian Briscoe 28:58

Yeah, he talks a lot about commercial real estate in his book, you know, and there's a lot of lot of examples where he's talking about, you know, I don't think he uses the word syndication ever. But that's it. That's exactly what he's investing. And, I mean, he wrote the book in the 90s. You know, sec rule has changed since but he's talking about syndications. You know, he's talking about multifamily. He's talking about retail syndications. And that's Yeah, that was clear to me after getting into the game, and it wasn't so clear to me, you know, when I read it first time, but so 13 syndications is what you're invested in just curious which one's your favourite? Oh, boy. I mean, for any reason. Yeah.

Trevor Thompson 29:33

I don't know if I have one yet. Okay. Yeah, you know, because I'll be honest, at the beginning, um, my investments, the first few that I made are pretty Rocky. And if if I just had went well, this isn't working out if I didn't believe in the process and that I would find the right ones. I probably would have stopped because because they've all really underperformed and got really damaged during COVID down. So since then I've done a few that I'm more excited about. Probably the most excited about is that a plus facility up in Denton, Texas. And one of the things that I tried to do to just increase my education is I'm an annoying LP that always says, How can I help you? How can I help you? How can I help you? And eventually that that particular out GP said, Oh, you could do some research for us on smart apartments. And so I did it, you know, and they haven't pulled the trigger yet. But my theory was always to earn and learn. Yeah. And so I wanted to be able to put an investment in something. But I also wanted to, which is why my portfolio is fairly diverse, you know, and some of it truly is COVID. So here in Austin, for example, we bought townhomes, and we're turning them into condos, and never was bought for cash flowing, never was bought for the rental income. And then for 18 months, we couldn't evict the month to month tenants. Yeah. And then once you could evict them all the offices were closed down. So you couldn't get a building permit to renovate. I get that the challenges certainly are there for those Yes,

Brian Briscoe 31:05

yeah. Yeah. You know, co COVID is something I don't think anybody could predict. You know, I mean, we had, you know, three assets that we were managing and one under contract and mean, they were all affected in some way. And it's just, you know, some are affected a little more than others, depending on location, your business plan, but yeah, I mean, it's hard.

Trevor Thompson 31:26

But it also produced some opportunities for me as well. So we had a property that I'm invested in is an LP was actually the first one. And when I got furloughed, I called up the GP and said, Man, I got nothing but time now, at least for two months. And so they made me the asset manager of that property. So I get nice asset manager as an LP, and then they fired the property manager. So we self managed, but we weren't ready. So again, you just I kept learning and learning and learning. And then eventually, they took it back over after they sold some properties. They had some more staff that could take care of it. But, man, you talked about a learning curve going down to deep value add, and in your third months of doing it COVID hits.

Unknown Speaker 32:09

Yeah, you can learn a lot. All

Brian Briscoe 32:11

right. Well, let's, uh, you know, once again, my favourite question for everybody, you know, what's your big burning? Why?

Trevor Thompson 32:18

You know, so my Why is always to be able to create something that benefits other people's lives, I think it's very similar to that. So when I look at apartment real estate, I look at creating a good community, where people where we improve their living conditions, we act as landlords that actually care about them as tenants. And then we provide a great place for people to work. And then I'd also like to create an environment where if we do all of those things, I think the investors are going to get taken care of, but I really, really want to take it to the next level that the people that are involved in the projects that I have that work there have an opportunity to participate in some way where we incentivize them on our success. And I just think that creates a, you know, the Circle of Life kind of deal, the Win Win, win,

Brian Briscoe 33:10

win win,

Trevor Thompson 33:11

benefits are getting better, we do it, the investors are going to be better, I'm going to go to bed at night thinking, you know, look at you know, everyone involved here has got some sort of gain out of this if they want to apply it themselves.

Brian Briscoe 33:24

So here we go. Now, uh, Trevor, so here comes my favourite part of the podcast that you asked my favourite question that a lot of favourites here. We got Anthony on the line, what do you want to ask him?

Trevor Thompson 33:35

I just been really, really struggling to get that first deal. And, you know, and it's a combination of all kinds of factors, right, analysis paralysis, I'm in a hot market, it's hard to compete, you know. And just, it's absolutely frustrating that in a highly intelligent, highly committed person like myself, in nine months hasn't landed a deal. It's very frustrating. And I keep thinking, What am I doing wrong?

Anthony Vicino 34:00

So first of all, you're not doing anything wrong, I would look at it through the lens of maybe this will give a little consolation, right. So at the start of 2020, we we did a deal in January heavy value add right before COVID hit. And then we looked every single day for the rest of 2020 and didn't do another deal until November. So 11 months, we we looked high and low scoured our market every which way. We did that deal in November. And then the next deal that we did is the deal that we're doing right now. So seven, eight months. And this is with, you know, full time employees whose only job is to go out there and find the deal. So one is like just recognise that real estate finding the deals, it can take a really long time it becomes really frustrating, but it is a it's a numbers game. And so the question is, how many deals are you seeing per week? How many are you underwriting? How many ello eyes are you actually submitting? So that That's where I would start is like, how many deals do you currently have flowing into your inbox, whether that's through brokers or through off market leads?

Trevor Thompson 35:09

Yeah, so I have a decent deal flow, I have a weakness that I'm not a good underwriter. And I've burned through several that have helped me, I've paid for it. One month, I spent 11 $100 on underwriting, just so I could look at all these deals. And then, you know, I felt like I was flushing all that money down the toilet. I've offered people like, Hey, I'll give you a piece of the deal. If you do my under it's very frustrating. So that's part of my problem. Lately, it's tidy up a little bit because I get some better partners. But and I'll be honest, I have pulled the gun out of the holster and have not fired until last night. I actually hit Submit on my first two ello eyes. Nice. Congratulations. Yeah. And, and I'll be honest, my heart was pounding. It was kind of strange. It's scary.

Brian Briscoe 36:02

Scary. Good, though. I mean, so you said the word the letter lol ly. So you were lightyears ahead of my first offer? Okay, my first offer was an email with a number. I didn't even know what an LSI was. All right. But, you know, I'll say from from the time that I walked my first multifamily property, to the time that we closed was about 1617 months, you know, so you know, you you going nine months without getting something is not out of the ordinary. But end of the day, you know, you got to put out more allies to to be able to get them. And to to the point, I just say, you know, have some a certain amount of criteria, maybe I don't know, I don't know what your your process is, but you got a certain level of criteria where you can do high level underwriting you can you may be able to save yourself a little bit of time and money, you know, before you know, kicking it to somebody else. Yeah, definitely

Trevor Thompson 36:59

working on that I can see that is something that will bring me good value.

Anthony Vicino 37:04

Yeah, Brian, Brian mentioned that nailed it on the head there is it's a numbers game. So you have to submit more ello eyes, but you have you have no control over when that perfect deal is going to come up. And so in the meantime, you really need to be working on two things in particular, one is honing your skills and honing your network. And so one is like you've already identified, underwriting is a weakness. Well, you can solve that in one of two ways. Either you become a better underwriter or you find a partner who is a good underwriter, even paying for somebody to do your underwriting, that's okay. But unless you can look at that, and really understand it and work backwards, like you're going to always be vulnerable. So be using this time to say, okay, the deals are going to come, I don't have control over that. But in the meantime, here's what I'm going to work on. Here's what I'm really good at, like identify your strengths and identify your weaknesses, and then use that as a template to go and find the perfect partner who has all the complementary strengths and weaknesses. And that's where my partner Dan and I like he's a he's an amazing underwriter, I'm okay, I know enough to be able to work backwards from his underwriting and be like, this is legit and good. But it's not where it's not what sparks my soul with joy. And so for me, in my my success in this has been really tied to Dan and the fact that his strengths are my weaknesses, and my strengths are his weaknesses. So it's frustrating when you want that first deal, but just recognise like, it will come with enough reps. But right now you need to be putting in more reps, more otherwise more submissions, and that fear, it's always there, but just remember it now otherwise, like, even if it gets accepted, you don't have to move forward.

Brian Briscoe 38:39

Yeah, you know, I had a little fear of, you know, part of it was, you know, what happens I put in an offer and doesn't get accepted, but I also had the same fear. What if I put the offer in it does get accepted and worse, you know, it's just like, you know, from from a certain perspective, you know, from from the guy who who's trying to get in the game, it's, it sure is a lot easier to have a bunch of offers and not accepted, you know, because you can just keep on doing what you're doing doing you're comfortable with but yeah, spend time out of your comfort zone. And that's that's when you're going to get the movement do the things that make yourself the outlier, you know, get out of that comfort zone be the outlier be the Ilan Musk, you know, so to speak. Yeah, people listening Didn't you know, catch the the earlier conversation, but, you know, we all we all understand. So, we were fanboying a little bit about Ilan, it's okay. Yeah. man crush meeting? I

Trevor Thompson 39:27

don't know. Yeah. And definitely put it out there because I am in the hottest market that you know, I have energy. I mean, I've gone probably two dozen times and looked at deals for other people with no promise of even getting in the deal. Just in hopes for aligning myself with somebody I had a conversation with. We connected we seem to have similar values. Hey, if you get something and you need somebody to drive to Houston, you know, I mean, I literally drove to Houston did an hour tour and drove back. I mean, it was seven hours for somebody. I listened to a lot of audio Yeah, yeah,

Brian Briscoe 40:02

you know, and stuff like that moves the needle, it really does, you know? So yeah, showing showing that you're willing to put forth effort like that a lot of times will move the needle.

Anthony Vicino 40:12

Yeah. So it's, it's one of the, you know, we talked about the return on life metric, when another powerful metric that I you can't measure its return on karma. And like putting in that time and that energy and doing good for other people, and without expectation of necessarily it leading to anything. Concretely, I think the problem people get into is when they look too transactionally at I'll go look at this property for you. But it's going to cost you this. And it's like, in the early days, that's, that's a hard line to take. Because if you treat everything transactionally like, no, people want relationships, they don't want transactions. So I think you're doing the right

Trevor Thompson 40:46

thing. And even helping with the GPS, you know, after I was doing it for a while, they said, what, what do you want from us? And I said, I want nothing I want to give you first. And then when I get my first deal, I need a sponsor, I want you to remember I did a good job for you. And then you look at the deal, just like you would any other deal. But at least you know my character when I come to ask for you to be my one of my sponsors for you know, an agency debt or something.

Anthony Vicino 41:10

Yeah, yeah. And you probably have this because you seem like a pretty self aware, dude, Trevor, but for people listening at home that maybe haven't thought about this is like when you're going to partners or prospective people that you want to work with, it's not their job to figure out how you can help them. So when you when you go and you say things, like, how can I help you? That's a great question. But in the back of your head, you should already have identified where your strengths are and what you could do to help them and I articulate that for them. Otherwise, when you ask me, How can I help you that's really just giving me homework. But if you say, here's what I'm good at, I'll go to property tours, I'm great at asset management and working with the tenants. Like that's like, Okay, I know what this guy can do for me. So if you're listening at home, and you're like, you've just been going to people and saying, How can I add some value to you, like, do do some homework and figure out how you can add the value? And then tell me how you can do it.

Trevor Thompson 42:02

Yeah, and part of what I was able to bring twos up when I worked for I apply, I actually opened 46 of our 80 locations around the world. So I know how to take over business, start a business. You know, so that's very helpful. That I have had that background.

Anthony Vicino 42:18

Yeah, it's a hugely it's a hugely invaluable skill. It's massive. We have an iflight Actually, I just thought about now like couple like demos, right. Open it up two years ago. Yeah. Yeah. You know, the one.

Brian Briscoe 42:29

Our grand opening got cancelled because it was minus 38. Yeah, we'll do that. Grand Opening I'm like, yeah, and you're a nice snuggle up warm in your hotel thinking. I'm so glad you're here go up for Okay. Um, luckily, I didn't bought a ticket. So yeah. So So pro tip for you know, anybody in you know, downtown Minneapolis or St. Paul, you can get from one side of downtown to the other with out going outside. It's amazing.

Anthony Vicino 43:00

Yeah, it's the coolest thing you do on the Skyway tour, you can tour the entire downtown, never step outside

Brian Briscoe 43:07

University of Minnesota campus, you know, same way they have to go for way a series of tunnels and the sky ways where you can go from once again, one side of campus to the other without going outside. You know, so there are

Anthony Vicino 43:19

legitimately a couple there are a couple days of the year that we'll try to kill you. But so we want to try to avoid going outside sometimes.

Brian Briscoe 43:26

And I will say getting across campus there's there's one or two sprints you know if you have to go if you literally have to go from one side of campus to the other there, there's a couple of you know, 20 metre sprints, but it toughens you up. Yeah. So. But yeah, good enough. Well, we're about out of time. Thank you to both of you for coming on the show today. Great episode. A lot of good conversation here. Last question for each of you, Anthony. You get to go first. how can listeners learn more about you? Yeah,

Anthony Vicino 43:53

so come find me. Invictus multifamily calm. Like I mentioned before, we have a book coming out in August called passive investing Made Simple. So if that's something that you're, you've been thinking about, you want to learn more like how to find sponsors, how to vet them, because that's the number one thing and how to look at deals and vet markets, then that's going to be a really good resource for you. So go check that out.

Brian Briscoe 44:11

Perfect. And, Trevor, same question for you. Best Places

Trevor Thompson 44:14

on LinkedIn. Hey, Trevor Thompson, on LinkedIn or Facebook, I'm active, very active on both.

Brian Briscoe 44:20

Alright, perfect, and we'll put put links to your guys's websites and profiles in the show notes. Once again, thank you so much for coming on the show. I appreciate your guys's time today.

Thank you for listening to the diary of an apartment investor podcast today brought to you by four oaks capital. If you'd like to know more about how to invest in apartment buildings or want to be a guest on our show, visit our website at four oaks slash podcasts or email us directly. If you're still listening. You obviously like the show, so pull out your phone app subscribe, and leave us a five star rating on your favourite podcast app. And we'll see you again next week.

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