You are Your Biggest Asset with Ellis Hammond and Michael Keller

Episode 89 of the Diary of an Apartment Investor Podcast with Ellis Hammond and Michael Keller, hosted by Brian Briscoe. Transcript by – please forgive any errors.

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Brian Briscoe 0:00

Michael, we got Ellis on line here. What do you want to ask him?

Michael Keller 0:03

Looking back now knowing what you know today, what advice would you give yourself? And then how would you implement that?

Ellis Hammond 0:08

You know, if I could say, Hey, you know, if you invest 10k Today, I'm going to give you a 10x return tomorrow, guaranteed, you would do that every even if you didn't have 10k you would figure out how to go get 10k because you know, I'm gonna give you 100k tomorrow. Early on in this business, I didn't understand that I am my greatest asset. So investing money into myself education, mentorship, business development, sales, marketing, all those things have come back to me tenfold. So spend money on that, because it's going to come back to you.

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 89. And part of our Ask the Expert series. Today we're speaking with experienced investor Ellis Hammond, and aspiring investor Mike Keller. Keep listening to understand what your best asset is, and how to use other people's retirement funds to invest into syndications. And now the show Welcome to the diamond apartment investor podcast. I'm your host Brian brisco. with folks capital super excited for today's show. It's one of our Ask the Expert episodes we got two amazing people on the line with us. We've got amount of tonne of experience in in real estate and other businesses, Ellis Hammond and a motivated aspiring investor Mike Keller. So Ellis has spent the last six years building Christian communities on college campuses across San Diego. He's been an evangelist for his cause, raising nearly $200,000 and launching faithful Christians in the world of business and ministry. He's also a successful real estate investor who began investing real estate three years ago. with the goal of creating more passive income to support his family. He quickly found himself investing in bigger deals and syndicating large multifamily apartment complexes. He's now the founder of LS Hammond calm, and manages a private network of investors seeking passive investment opportunities in multifamily syndications across United States. And that said, Ellis, welcome to the show. What's up, man? Yeah, thanks. Glad to be here. Mike. What's going on? Excited to jump in? Yeah. This is gonna be fun. Always is one of the highlights of my week, every time I can sit down with with people and talk about apartments and sit down with really, really good people too. And that's, that's one thing else I've noticed about you from the beginning. You know, I've listened to your podcast for a while you know, you you are just one of those genuinely good people. And I'm excited for today's episode. So I appreciate that, man. Thank you. So that said, Why don't you give us a little bit of background and history. You know who you are, and kind of what led you into this apartment investing?

Ellis Hammond 2:54

Yeah, well, I'm excited to kind of record some of these thoughts today, because I do get a lot of these calls like, hey, how did you do this? Because I was a former pastor and missionary didn't have a real estate background I did don't come from a high net worth family. We really started from scratch, no education, we did have you know, about 100k. So that was helpful. So we weren't dead broke, but didn't have any income really, I was, you know, we had money put away but we were, you know, on a missionaries budget. And so we took that 100k that we had is actually from another family investor who kind of we entrusted us I'm not sure why to help them make a better return. But we got serious about how to use that and we bought a duplex in San Diego, California and that was our start I had no idea that we could even buy a duplex went to a seminar and you know how to build wealth through real estate and it hit me at the right time and and just was the the light went on. Like maybe I could do something more than just ask people for money in order to build wealth, like maybe I can be a better steward of capital and capital creation. And so we just got hungry to figure it out. And our first start was a duplex and just loved it man love the process. Love the people put me around and but you know, and we made a movement, it made a tonne of money buying that duplex here in San Diego. We actually just sold it this year. And I did really well. But the biggest thing that the duplex taught me was one that capital flows, like money flows to value. So we created value in this duplex and made a lot of money in it. But probably the most important thing was to realise that when I got second I could buy real estate. But third, buying duplexes was never going to help us accomplish the goals that we had in mind for the impact that we wanted to create. And so our next deal was, you know, what we are going to talk about today syndication buying apartment complexes. And that was the start of kind of where we are today with our company human equities and our asset group Asset Management Group Symphony. So that's a little bit about us.

Brian Briscoe 4:55

So so just just curious. I mean, we talked just before the show, but I've lived seven years in San Diego. We're in San Diego, and what year did you buy the duplex?

Ellis Hammond 5:02

We bought it close to San Diego State because that's where we were working and had our ministry and we bought that in 2000. And I think 17 it's all blur man. So fast, but it was around then beginning of that year, and it's funny man, people like, Oh, you know, things are so expensive. Back in 2017, well, prices have doubled in three years here in San Diego literally doubled. So we had a great run. And we just got out of it just because who knows how much longer this market is a very cyclical market and has been historically so

Brian Briscoe 5:36

sad to hear you say that because my second investment property was a condo in San Diego. We bought it in 2009. And we sold it in 16. So yeah, man, you're telling me

Ellis Hammond 5:47

a matt, you missed a huge run probably a bigger run from 2015 to 2020, then 2009 2015. You know, I mean, it's hard to believe but it's true.

Brian Briscoe 5:57

Yeah. Well, we, I mean, we were happy with with when we sold it, and and there were other reasons why we sold it. You know, and end of the day, I think I turned 15,000 and 150,000. Yeah, I

Ellis Hammond 6:08

mean, you know, you can't you can't hate on yourself for doing that. For sure. Yeah, you look back and you, but it's a great manga for you.

Brian Briscoe 6:15

Yeah. You know, that that was that was $100,000. I had in my back pocket to start, you know, to really kickstart my investing career. So it worked for us, you know, had we held on a little longer, maybe I would have made more. But, you know, hindsight is 2020 is so so cool. So, so yeah, I understand your duplex was your first first foray into into real estate investing? How'd you get into the the larger syndication stuff? What did that process look like?

Ellis Hammond 6:40

Yeah, I mean, honestly, a lot of this. And you know, I, again, no mentors, no education, no one to really hold my hand in this. So I just started reaching out to people I respected and I would literally, this is, for anyone who's listening, I would listen to interviews like this, hundreds of them are like, I just never stopped listening to podcasts. And the people that really resonated with me, they would always leave their contact information at the end of the show. And I would call them or email them. And, and I just started building a network that way. And that's really how I found my first partner. And you know, what I had, what I could leverage. And I do think is important. A lot of people call me in, you know, they, they're asking questions they want to get in this, but they don't really quite know how they're what they're gonna leverage or what what they actually bring to the table. For me, I was a, I was a money raiser, I had been raising funds for our nonprofit for several years. And I already had a track record and network of people who really trusted me. And so you know, that's what we did. I mean, we raise money to get into the game, we found an experienced operator and had a network of investors and leverage that to essentially get into the deal. And that was our start. And, you know, it wasn't a big portion. But it was enough to start telling the story. And I think that's so key for anyone trying to get in is like, do the active do transactions make offers? Because once you it doesn't matter how big the deal is, once you have something you can start telling a story. You know, I mean, in the story, and having something to talk about will change the game for you.

Brian Briscoe 8:13

Absolutely not two key points that I'll reiterate, you know, number one, if somebody resonates with you on a podcast, pick up the phone and call, you know, especially if they're giving you a phone number, do it if they give you an email address, email them, I'll tell you one of the pivotal moments in, in my journey, you know, I was I was just a podcast listener for two years, you know, hadn't really done anything, so to speak. I remember I'm running on a bridge across the Potomac River, listening to a podcast, and there was a guy whose story just completely resonated with me. You know, I worked at the Pentagon, and he said, hey, I've, my last three years of military service, I was working at the Pentagon, you know, I'm like, wow, that's, that's so amazing. And things just lined up. And I remember stopping with sweaty fingers trying to tap out an email on myself. But it started a relationship that's existed since and that's, that's one key point. And the other thing you said, I think, is replayed over and over and over again, you need to get your foot in the door. You need to be able to have a little bit of track, record a little bit of experience, get that momentum, get that momentum started. And everything else is is easier after you have that momentum. So what's a typical property look like? What are you guys looking for as far as the deals that you invest in?

Ellis Hammond 9:29

Yeah, no, so great. So we have a couple things going on right now. We actually just made a we got a couple offers out right now our typical deal size from the deals that we're managing the assets that we're managing are going to fall in between the five and $15 million range at this point, really like Arizona markets, Tucson, Phoenix, Albuquerque, New Mexico and Kansas City is another market that we focus on as well. And so that's our typical range and deal size in terms of the assets that we That we're managing, we also have a couple mobile home parks within the 100 unit range to that we've been able to transact on over the last 12 months. And then we have said, Hammond equities is really kind of the the capital side of our business where we're raising money from and we also have a fund, and that fund is actually placing capital with a larger group and our target size there is is much bigger and around the 250, all the way up to the 400 unit mix. And those are some key markets like Dallas, Houston, Orlando, Raleigh, and the reason for that is we just have an experienced team that we can leverage their track, record their access to the market, and be able to get into deals that, honestly we're where we are in our career would never be able to compete at that level. And so really, like kind of having the blend of Yeah, we're doing our own thing and managing our own assets set up kind of a smaller level, maybe some higher returns, because we're, you know, we're able to pick a little bit more risks there. But then the fund gives my network of investors access to opportunities that, you know, we're not gonna be able to see for silver years that, you know, the returns might be slightly lower, but you're investing in very stabilised assets with a team that has a, you know, 100 billion dollar type track record, that low lower returns, maybe, but I think, typically stuff like that comes a little less risk,

Brian Briscoe 11:25

you know, you're you're picking, you know, cities that are larger, larger, have you maybe a better demographic, maybe a more diverse job market. With population demand, it's always there. So,

Ellis Hammond 11:38

right. That's why I like man, the, you know, for us Symphony with our markets of Tucson, for example, Kansas City, Albuquerque, you know, those are markets that are experiencing great growth because of what's happening around them. And they're still great. I mean, we're, you know, awesome return for investors, also returns for us, there's plenty of meat on the bone for everyone to make money in those type of deals. So we're having a lot of fun, just trying to kind of build out that operation. mobile home parks are really good cash flowing assets. So that's been fun, but we're not going to see big appreciation plays on those, those are mostly for a cash flow type play, but still the apartment side of things, some cool things happening. We're excited about in markets, like, you know, those tertiary type markets, Tucson, Kansas City, Albuquerque. Now, those would be definitely considered tertiary type markets, but still really great. Great plays for folks who really are looking for, you know, getting a pop in there, their investment still,

Brian Briscoe 12:32

yeah. Now, coincidentally, or maybe maybe it's not a coincidence. But you know, you're in San Diego, a lot of the markets that you mentioned, are not California. And, you know, there's probably lots of reasons for that. But they're close to California, you know, how did the proximity to where you live play a factor in what markets you selected?

Ellis Hammond 12:50

Yeah, honestly, that's why I mean, that's a great point, man. I mean, I just think like, what we've continued to learn is that if you're going to play, I don't want to say big boys, because I don't know if we're in 150 units is there's bigger boy, there's bigger fish even above us. But it's still a very sophisticated level, right? Like, you're no longer the duplex quad Plex, you're not buying the 20 unit, you're really starting to get into larger multifamily. So it's a sophisticated group, you know, sophisticated type brokers, you have to be competitive in your offer. And most of these folks want to know, when they because there's so many offers on every single deal, right? That's coming to market, that one of the questions they ask you is, hey, as I have all the principles toward the deal, dude, are you familiar with the asset, because the buyer just wants to make sure you know, what you're getting yourself into. And so, you know, it's just, if we're looking it, we even kind of narrowed down our markets for that very reason. Because we just need the confidence, like, we want to have our own confidence and then be able to portray that confidence to the seller that, you know, we know the market, we have our team ready. And so yeah, proximity has been everything because folks matter of focus matter of being able to move fast, and trying to break into a market that we don't live in, we need to get there regularly. So you know, we can drive to Tucson in six hours, can get on a flight to Kansas City relatively quickly. Same thing with Albuquerque. Yeah.

Brian Briscoe 14:14

Yeah, I think that's absolutely key. You know, when when you put an offer in, it's not just a number on a paper, there's a confidence level as well. You know, I think a lot a lot of brokers recommend to sellers and a lot of sellers will will take the higher priority deal even if the numbers a little less, it's just like you were talking about the investment opportunities that your funds looking at. It's a little bit lower of a return but it's a more stabilised asset maybe in a better better area. So you know, a lot of people a lot of times there are trade offs like that so

Ellis Hammond 14:43

yeah, don't get a go man. This was so confirm me like, I'm sure there are folks listening who are trying to break in you go to your like, the first step is just go and meet people like we just did that in Tucson and we just got back from a trip last week and just it always confirms when we go Like this is I always thought we should do this more often, like we should go, we could come every week, you know, like, I'm thinking of like, left that place. I'm like, Can we move here? Like, honestly, with my wife, he opened for us just to literally move everything to Tucson, because it's a relationship game man, there's so much is,

Brian Briscoe 15:17

yeah, that's something that's really helped us too. I, I first started looking for apartment buildings, you know, about two and a half, three years ago. And it wasn't until my first trip to my target market that I started getting traction. You know, I was talking to brokers all the time. And you know, sometimes they respond to my email, sometimes they wouldn't, you know, I mean, such as the life of an aspiring investor. But it was that first trip, and it was an eight hour drive from here to Columbia, South Carolina on a DC but eight hour drive to Columbia. And that's when I toured the first property we got under contract and had I not driven down there, I never would have been showed that property because we were walking one property with a broker, we put an offer in it didn't get it. But as we were walking the property, the broker looked at me and said, We just had a seller call us about property x. Yeah, that's crazy. We don't have a broker. We haven't we haven't even crunched the numbers yet. We just barely got their financials. We know nothing about it. Do you want to walk the property? And like,

Ellis Hammond 16:16

yeah, that's, that's funny family, we have enough to where we met, we had a meeting with a broker team, or in their office were the first team they're seeing in the new year, right. And they say, Hey, we have a deal. We don't have the contract yet. We're waiting for the signature for the seller to sign the, you know, the docs so that we get the listing. And we were the first and literally I think they got the call while we were in the office. Later that day, we go and we were the first people who looked at that deal. wasn't anything, it wasn't actually what we were looking for. But it was cool to think like, we're the first team, like they're gonna, we're the first people seeing this asset. If we wanted to crack at it, we would have been in a really good position to be able to do so.

Brian Briscoe 16:54

Yeah, and building those relationships and being out there with the brokers. That's the only way you get first crack at things had I had I stayed at home that week and done stuff from my basement like I do right now.

Ellis Hammond 17:06

Yeah, I mean, put yourself in the shoes of broker how they support their family by doing transactions. And you know, when they come to a seller, you know, with a list of Hey, here, my buyers, you hear the people that are ready to move. Like, the most important thing of them is they don't want you to get into this and then get out of it. Like they want the confidence that you're going to get them paid, you know, in the next 60 days, and they don't want to push that off for you know, another 120 another 180 days if you fall on a contract. And so that's super, super important that you know, and so the best way to do that is either one close deals, right? If you're gonna if you're not going to build relationships, just close deals, or build a relationship that they trust you enough if you're not closing a lot of deals that they have the confidence. So either close deals or show up more often is the only way I figured it out.

Brian Briscoe 17:58

Absolutely. Absolutely. All right. So we're going to shift gears slightly. And I want to ask you a question that, I think is probably the most important thing that that I asked during the podcast, what is your big burning? Why? What's your motivation for continuing to do this?

Ellis Hammond 18:13

Well, I mean, first of all, man, I just, I want to build wealth, we're in this because we didn't we started in real estate to figure out ways to create capital. So you know, we're in this to make a lot of money. I mean, it's I say that really bluntly, because for so long, I feared money, I didn't want money, I kept it away from me. And when I realised that capital equals influence, and that as a missionary who didn't have any money, I was really only stewarding half of my, my gifts. I got really serious about building wealth, and really leveraging that wealth to impact people's lives and support our nonprofit and our missionary group. So did I mean it to make a lot of money? Like, really simply and I'm really unashamed about that. That's why we're doing this. I'm really motivated by building wealth through apartments and helping other people do that, because I saw a great missionary group really struggle because they didn't have enough capital. And so I've seen me and my mom and my family have seen them struggle because they don't have enough money, right? So I'm Dude, I'm really motivated by trying to build a lot of money through apartment investing. So that's one and two, but I see apartment communities as an incredible vehicle to help people come to know Christ. And I also say that really unashamedly. I'm a missionary, you know, former pastor, and so my spirituality, my faith, my belief in crisis series. And so we see the apartment community as a great way to have an impact. And so our fund is actually a faith driven fun, and we're using a ministry partner inside of our communities, to share the love of Christ and tell people about Jesus inside of our communities. And so both of those are really Why I love this asset class because it allows us to do both of those very intentionally.

Brian Briscoe 20:04

You know, there's a couple of things on there that I'll comment on, you know, I'm from a missionary family as well, my daughter did a just finished a mission for our church a year ago, you know, and I did one in Chile, when I was, you know, 1920 years old, my family had to reach out to other people for help, you know, my parents couldn't fund my mission, because they didn't have money. And one of my neighbours, who is also the same faith funded my mission, you know, he paid for my mission, you know, and I realised, when that happened myself that, you know, what position did I want to be in? You know, did I want to be in the position where I have to reach out to other people to fund my children's missions? Or do I want to be in the position where, you know, if one of my neighbours needs help, I can give help? You know, and I think, I think a lot of people, I think you bring up some key points on that one, you know, a lot of religious people think the money is the root of all evil, which is not true. You know, it's, it's absolutely something, it's a tool, it's something that you can use to help other people. And you see what you said, really resonated with me from from that standpoint, because money is a tool. And the more you have, the more good you can do it, the more people you can help, you know, the more mouths you can feed all the way down the line. So, anyway, I very much appreciate what you said, and very much appreciate, you know, your efforts. And in making the world a better place.

Ellis Hammond 21:24

I think most people just aren't honest with themselves, man, like, Who doesn't want to be rich, like, fool yourself? Like you? Why do you go to work every day? You know, I'm saying like, you probably, you know, let's just move, you just need to be honest, like, you want to be wealthy. You know, like, it's okay. If you don't talk about it, you don't set goals. If you're, you know, you're just you're never going to get it. And that was me, I didn't. The reason we never had money is because we never talked about it. We never went after it. We didn't know how to go get it. And so of course we were poor, right? Like, just is what it is. And so now, I want to talk about it. I'm open about it. I know, we're really clear about it. And and we're doing it like it's starting to come to us. And so it's just, I don't know, it's just funny sometimes, man and so no, I'm glad we're in like money group here.

Brian Briscoe 22:12

So yeah, I think I think there's a little taboo in society as well. I mean, for the longest time I mean, when I was younger, you know, I was taught that you don't ask people how much they make it's a sensitive issue you don't ask about money you don't you don't you don't you know so it's I don't know if it's what what part of our culture you know, kind of pushes that but it seems to be something that a lot of people have to break through. You know, a lot of people have to start focusing on it.

Ellis Hammond 22:35

Yeah, but that's why your network your people you're around is so important man like you know, that's why we start a mastermind have a mastermind is just mindsets, everything that's so impacted by the people you're around and who you're with. And you know that that was the biggest barrier for me getting into this was just changing my mindset on the way that I viewed money and went after it and talked about it and so it's it's crazy.

Brian Briscoe 22:59

Well, that said, let's shift gears one more question for you then we'll bring Mike on. So what's next for you?

Ellis Hammond 23:04

Yeah, we so we're raising I'm really excited about this fun. I would say that's probably the big thing right now, in terms of our company is that we're raising this is called the mission multifamily fun, which kind of aligns with our, you know, the book we're going to talk about later. And our story, this I really, I'm really liking this fun model man that we have an ability for people to come in and kind of it we don't necessarily have to have a deal right away for them to invest. But yet we're, you know, we're leveraging the experience of others. I really am liking this fun model worlds close this in the next few weeks. And then figures Well, I think we'll, we'll do fun, too. I just really enjoying this process in raising money for that. So excited about that. And then big next thing, I'm having a baby girl in May and so my life's gonna completely change. And so both of those things, man are really exciting.

Brian Briscoe 23:52

Yep, I love that little girl is going to be your little princess private toy. And yeah, I mean, I've been there done that. So actually, my firstborn daughter who, incidentally, was joined at the hip when when she was young, she edits this podcast, so yeah, so that's, that's great. But yeah, she's gonna, she's definitely going to know about entrepreneurship, how to, oh, she, I mean, she, she changed my world, you know, and she knows that but she was a daddy's girl for a while and then went back to she she was one of those who kind of went back and forth. You know, it was daddy's girl for two years, then mommy's girl for four years. And anyway, that said, All right. So let's let's shift gears right now. We'll bring Mike on the line. So Mike was born and raised in Sacramento, California until enlisting in the army in 2004, and went straight into the Special Force community where he spent over 16 years of service which has included a myriad of combat deployments in various countries, leading elite teams in very sensitive environments worldwide. In 2008, he began to study real estate investment strategies and within one year acquired over $800,000 in properties. His passion for running a successful company post retirement for the military has changed his strategy to one of scaling his business model into apartment syndication through personal investments in professional mentorship and education. He plans to rapidly accelerate his business model and maximise his investors returns, you know, that said, Mike, welcome to the show. Thanks for having me. Glad to be here. Thank you. So Mike, why don't you tell us a little bit more about yourself, you know, your your background history and your lease up to the point to where you decide apartments was gonna be your thing?

Michael Keller 25:20

Yeah, well, like I said, 2004 signed up for the army as run on time, obviously, after 911. See what was going on is really want to make a difference and have an impact on do something special. So you know, they had a programme where you kind of come directly into those special operations community and roll the dice and went forward. And it worked out. Obviously, it doesn't work out for everybody. It's hard to do it, but

Brian Briscoe 25:40

we're very selective community. So I mean, yeah, very

Michael Keller 25:45

good. cellml, 17 years later today, you know, I'm, I'm still at it. And it's been a successful run. But a couple years ago, you know, as you kind of look, you have to, when you're running hard, you eventually got to slow down and look at the future, you know, post military eventually gonna happen. So I started studying like passive income. And like, Man, what does that mean? I looked at car washes and storage units, and really just started studying real estate. And a couple years ago, I got brought in with some friends to, you know, in Indianapolis network, and through that, and through capital raising on my own to my friends and family. Within one year, I was able to acquire like nine doors. So I was pretty proud of for doing a lot of that on my own. So as that was going on, I was like, well, this is fun. This is going well. I need to scale. started again, studying real estate into apartments and then looked at syndication started just consuming multifamily material, whether that was podcast books, you know, YouTube videos, whatever I could get, I just started studying. So just engross myself in that. And then actually, we were I was overseas and ran into a good friend of mine, Brock merges, who's now a business partner. Yeah, Brock, because what I'm doing, man, I'm pretty pumped about it, like I'll move into the apartment syndication. And he's like, really, that's what I'm looking at. That's what I'm doing. And so we just became best friends and I, so we've known each other for years. So it was an easy partnership. And so we formed a keela multifamily. And then from there, we heavily invested in ourselves through mentorship through the Michael block programme, and Jeremy Amir, our coach. And we've just been, again, consuming material meeting people networking, building a good solid foundation, so that we can move forward in this. And so we've had a quite a good run out so far. We're excited. We've already submitted some ello eyes got one in the burner right now.

Brian Briscoe 27:39

Nice. Yeah, just just waiting for that first one. I mean, that's, that's really what it is. I mean, I've been following you guys. I mean, you know, this, but nobody listening does, but we talked several times, and I think you guys are doing all of the right things, you know, so it's just a matter of time, you know, keep on doing those right things, and it's just a matter of time till you're gonna connect on something, you know, so, Alright, so what is your big burning? Why? I mean, you kind of wove some of that through your story. But if you can distil that down to one thing, the big

Michael Keller 28:08

thing is time, I want all my time and rocks on the same line. So and obviously, that comes with wealth. So you know, like elysa, saying, Yeah, we want to build wealth. But the root of that is time. So the military has kind of owned our time, that's not a bad thing. We're very thankful for what we've done, and we've enjoyed our service. But at the end of it, you know, we'd eventually like to own our own time and spend it with our kids, and have that control back. So definitely generate that wealth to build time. And then on the backside of that, once we do build that platform with a business, we want to provide, like educational opportunities to solve individuals that are really high performers. You know, I didn't really learn about money and real estate and wealth building until really a couple years ago, you do the typical Roth IRA savings, put as much equity in your house to pay that down. And so the mindset really changed a couple years ago, and I wish I would have had that 10 years ago. So we want to build a platform where we can educate people and bring people into our umbrella. And then also provide a mentorship opportunity to soft guys that are transitioning because they're super high performers, fast learners, dedicated, you know, integrity more than most. And we want to provide that free of charge. So obviously, we're, we're, we're invested heavily in ourselves, we want to be able to provide that for people coming through, learn from us, under our wing, right seat, ride some deals, and then launch them off into their own.

Brian Briscoe 29:31

Perfect. Now, incidentally, for those listening, you know, military jargon, soft, Special Operations Forces, and that's the community he's in, but I understood it, but I'm not sure if everybody everybody listening would would understand it, but well, Hey, cool, you know, I appreciate all of that. And as I said, I appreciate your service as well, you know, from one, one service member to another, you know, thanks. And that said it, Mike, we got Ellison on line here. What do you want to ask him?

Michael Keller 29:54

Yeah, let's I think, obviously, capital raising, right. That's what I want to question you about, and you I was like myself, but in Brock, new syndicators coming in investments obviously need to raise capital. So how would you approach investors without a deal? And give them a good look into your business model to to show them why you are valuable for an investment?

Ellis Hammond 30:16

Yeah, that's a great question, man, you know, you do, you do have some things you can show in terms of, here's what I've done, you know, here's how we've executed. And here's why we're changing our strategy. And here's what that's going to really look like. And you're really looking for interested people who want to be a part of that, you know, in order to really go to the next level, you need larger, you need a larger funding source. And so I think you have a great track record, to be able to say, Hey, here's what we've done, here's what we've learned in the process. And here's the opportunity that we see ahead of us. And we're going to make a pivot, you know, essentially, is what you're explaining. And, and I would be trying to just sit down with as many people as possible and walk them through kind of that business model. Then at the end of that, I would say, we need X amount of capital, you know, or, hey, we're looking to bring in, you know, this, we're gonna need this to close this deal. If we bring if I bring this type of project to the table, in the next 60 days, do you or anyone, you know, have interest in investing alongside of us? That would be how I would go do that. So I think putting your track record together kind of explained the opportunity, you see ahead, and really trying to get those commitments of saying, Yeah, if you brought me this, and these were the returns, this was the profile. Yeah, I would be I would be interested getting that that yes or no would be really key.

Brian Briscoe 31:37

Yeah. I love that type of question. Because it's very non committal. I mean, you're not like, Hey, would you give me money right now, it's like, if would you add a second key to that? LLC? is I think what you said was perfect. Do you or anybody you know, I mean, that that's also a key right there, you know, ask ask for referrals. But great question. Great answer. Thanks, guys.

Michael Keller 32:00

And another thing that I haven't really dug into a whole lot, but I keep hearing about it. Right. So do you do any of the like self directed IRAs retirement plans? I've heard there's a lot of ways people can invest with those types of funds. Do you do that? And if you do, could you kind of dig into that just a little bit about that process.

Ellis Hammond 32:16

I think it's a great source for us as trying to source capital for sure. Interesting enough, I just did a webinar with a company last week and Ira company and they brought in like 100 people on this webinar, and I did a, I did a webinar around passive investing a checklist kind of due diligence as a passive investor and have a chat, I have a checklist for that, that we use for our own business. And I give that out to folks as well. And so that was kind of my pitch, hey, go download my checklist. And then we can set up a call to talk through it or whatever. And I got a tonne of good feedback that way, because you got these folks who were using their self directed IRA. But the thing that the problem with the self directed IRA, you know, you have these companies, the intermediary, right, who you have to use in order to use your self directed funds, a lot of people don't transact or actually go through the process of going through the software or anything, because they actually don't know where to put the money, like know what I have to subtract, all right, what I do with it, and so we are actually a great service for these companies. Because, you know, they need places for their clients to put their money once they set up the self directed IRA. And so, you know, my strategy has been reaching out to these companies and saying, hey, I'd like to provide a service in helping your clients with how to vet good opportunities, right. And then I can also introduce them to our company as well. And that has actually been well received. And so I personally don't have a self directed IRA. Not yet. But I think it's a I think it's a good thing. You know, personally, it's a good investment, but more so on the capital side of things. Absolutely. I think it's a good source for funds. I have found in the the handful of conversations since that webinar, that a lot of folks with a self directed IRA are looking for more yield opportunities. And so a lot of folks are, like invested in notes. So I think it's a great source. I'm still unclear if it's with like, for fun, for example, if it's the right opportunity for them, I think it just depends, right, but I have found most people with a subject are looking for some type of yield. And a lot of them are invested in notes, kind of fix and flip opportunities. So that's something to keep in mind. But everyone's different, not maybe I haven't had enough conversations yet to really understand that profile, that type of investor, but do think it's a great, great place to raise money. And there's, you know, the beautiful thing. Again, the whole network hacking is how you grow your business. Go find people who already have your clients and find ways to get in front of them. So, I mean, I did a webinar. I did very little marketing for this, and there were over 100 people on that webinar. I mean, and that was just showed up. I was in a cafe in Tucson right looking shopping real estate, and I just paused for an hour and I got to speak to 100 And now I have 15 new emails in my inbox or 15 new clients in my inbox to follow up with. So things are great placement for sure.

Brian Briscoe 35:09

Yeah, we've actually gotten quite a bit of money from different retirement type funds. And and one thing that we've been able to leverage is, I can't put my own self directed retirement funds into a deal that I'm a principal sponsor on, you know, that's one of those IRS rules. So there are a lot of other sponsors that we've networked with, that have invested with us using their their IRA funds, because they can't invest in their own deals, I think a lot of a lot of people like you, you and me, you know, we're putting our funds into our own deals. And maybe there's not enough left over to invest with, you know, our friends to the left or right, but retirement funds, one things that forced us to do something like that. And the other thing is, you know, you're 17 years in the Army, and you probably got a lot of colleagues that are somewhere, you know, 17 to 20 years, and there's this Thrift Savings Plan that everybody has, okay, so they're not able to touch it until they separate or retire from from the service. But you could start reaching out to that demographic right now. And educating them on options. Because once they get out, you know, there, there's always a question to leave my money there, do I roll it over into an IRA? You know, what do I do with this tsp stuff? You know, you can you can capitalise on that.

Ellis Hammond 36:27

So honestly, man, that's a webinar for you, dude, I would freakin I would do that webinar every month. And I would just say, here's what I'm doing. Here's what I'm doing. After the military, with whatever that was called tsp, I love that. And here's what I'm doing. And here's how we're going to multiply that, like, you know, like how, like what to do with your tsp after the military, you know, like, in people, we're gonna just, here's my plan. And hey, guys, if you're interested in doing something similar, let's set up a call to see if you qualify.

Brian Briscoe 37:00

That's good. with us. Yeah.

Michael Keller 37:03

Thank you, kind of timing that into funds. You know, you talked a lot about your bond. And I was always interested, you know, should I start a fund? Or what time? What point? Should I look at starting a fund? Or do we stick to the typical per capital raise per deal? See if you could talk about that a little bit. At what point did you decide like, I want to build a fund, I think it was probably the value of the asset you want to purchase. But

Ellis Hammond 37:23

yeah, the fund made well, we had a place to place the fund right away, which is helpful, and the fund is definitely got some more upfront costs to it. So there's that I would say that the bigger question for the fund man is like, could you go raise $2 million right now, in a fund that had no specific target? I think that's the bigger question. I like the fund. But the bigger question is, Can you can you actually raise the money? And so it's definitely easier starting out to have something right that you can show people, hey, this is what you're putting your money into, versus a fund. Because you are raising a fund and a syndication but the fund essentially is going to one asset, right? You are well you're asking is, should I go raise a blind fund that way we have money on the sidelines to be able to go purchase deals? Yes, that's a good idea definitely make you more competitive and making offers when you can show that your equity sources in a bank account, there's no doubt. The question is, Can you do it? Could you go raise $2 million? And if so, yeah, I think it's a great idea, man, I actually really like it. And so this thing would be I'd ask the question back to you, how confident are you? And maybe you just go ask, Hey, guys, I'm thinking about starting this fun, would you? You know, do you want to make a commitment into it, we're gonna be opening it up, you know, at the end, just see what kind of feedback you get. So you could you could go kind of probe your, your network before actually doing it, to see how easy or how hard it would be to go do that. But, you know, it's interesting to see some of these bigger operators who've been, you know, the ash Cross of the world, you know, some of they're actually starting funds, and but they've been doing this, they've got a big track record. And so I do think the fund model is attractive, but they're at a point now where they can probably very easily raise that fund, you know, and they didn't do that for several years. So I think it would just be like, how can you do it? If so, yeah. If not, then it's more expensive. And it's a lot harder. For sure.

Brian Briscoe 39:17

I say, just to add to that, as a deal sponsor, you know, we have in the past reached out to other people to help raise capital for us, of course, you know, they do more than just raising capital. You don't have to add that in there. Because, you know, a lot of people will be like, sec sec, but unless you do a fund to fund your funds, you don't have I mean, you right, actually circumvent all of those sec regulations under a 506 B or C, you know, syndication, you know, so you can actually park that money and just park the money. But if somebody comes to us with a fund, and they already have the money in the bank, for us, it's a done deal. It's no risk. And it's like, yeah, you can be a part of this deal. And here's exactly what you know, we're going to give you for bringing X amount of dollars. to the table. So, I think that's a very, very attractive from a deal sponsor standpoint, you just got to be you what what fits into your business plan better, you know, searching for deals and doing your own stuff? Or are you going to be, you know, raising money and parking in other people's deals?

Ellis Hammond 40:16

I think the easiest thing, you know, again, I think that's what are you good at? What do you enjoy? Would you like to do so I do like the capital, I like the money side, man, I like the capital side, why we launched a fund cuz I just like raising money. I like shopping deals too. But honestly, I like raising money more, I think. And so if you're on the other side of you're just you guys are more of the operators, asset managers, then instead of trying to maybe raise a fund, what Rhonda says, I think is really great. Go build a network of guys, again, who already had your clients who have the money of investors who have a network of investors and just build 10 or 12. So guys, that you can call on and say, Hey, we got this deal, can you help fund it, you know, that is going to be a lot easier than trying to raise your own fund or building a network of investors. So you know, that's another thing. I mean, that's a part of our, you know, we have like a level 10 type meeting. And it's number of investors, but it's also a number of Capital Partners that we're chatting with. And, you know, we're trying to, we want to make sure we build out like, when we went to Tucson, I invited two guys, that hopefully will be partners with us on future deals, it gives us confidence that we can close on stuff too, and maybe even go bigger deals because now we have a couple other networks that we can pull from that are not just ours. So that might be honestly accelerator for you, man is thinking about trying to build a network of other Capital Partners, not not investors, but guys who have investors.

Michael Keller 41:33

Yeah, no, that's a, that's a great point. I do enjoy the capital raising side of it. And that's the beauty of having a partner you know, Brock, works on stuff that

Ellis Hammond 41:41

I deal with the capital, you know, kind of looking back now knowing what you know, today, if you were looking back at yourself, like what would what would you What advice would you give yourself? And then how would you implement that? You know, if I could say, hey, if you spend 10k, today, you know, if you invest 10k, today, I'm going to give you a 10x return tomorrow, guaranteed, you would do that every day, even if you didn't have 10k, you would figure out how to go get 10k because you know, I'm gonna give you 100k tomorrow. And I think early on in this business, I didn't understand that I am my greatest asset. So investing money into myself, education, mentorship, business development, sales, marketing, all those things have come back to me tenfold. So been money on that, because it's going to come back to you be get really good at sales and marketing, really good at sales and marketing. This industry sucks at sales and marketing. I mean, I just want to award for investor of the year from this group. And the only reason one of the biggest reasons managed because I'm market better than everybody. Like, it's not my track record is not you know, we've closed these great just because I'm market better than most people, man. And so sales and marketing, get really good at that, and then know what it's like, I think one of the things I'm getting better at is I know I'm getting like I know what it costs me to acquire a lead incentive from a new investor. So I can go spend money, I can spend more money or will spend more money this year to acquire investors than probably most of the people in my circle, because most people don't know what it costs them to acquire a new lead. And also they don't know how much that lead is worth them as well. So let's say over the next year or five years, that one investor will make me 15 grand, they're worth 15k to me, and probably more than that, if they're a repeat investor, so I'm very much willing to go spend six grand to acquire them. That sounds crazy. Like you're gonna go spend $6,000 to get one investor. Well, yeah, because that though I can make $15,000 from from one investor, right? So I'll spend I'm spending a lot of money this year to go get in front of high net worth individuals. A lot of money, but I know now how much they're worth. So I can go spend that money.

Brian Briscoe 43:49

Yeah, and that that's absolutely key. I mean, and I do that all day, every day. And incidentally, we are spending a lot of money on marketing this year as well. Just because you know, on the same line, if $6,000 buys me 15,000 I'll do that all day every day. But hey, we're at the end of our rope here. So you know one question for both of you. How can investors find out or how can listeners find out more about you?

Ellis Hammond 44:13

Yeah, this is great a lot of fun mission and grab a free copy of our book is my story my journey how we got into this and even my mindset shift I think it'd be really helpful book if you've enjoyed this conversation mission of multifamily Comm. You can download that and I said you know I would reach out to folks at the end of this if anybody wants to chat shoot me an email Ellis at Ellis Hammond comm is my email address, or text me 6197976 to one three, and I'd be happy to chat.

Brian Briscoe 44:44

Alright, sounds good. And Mike same for you. How can people learn more about you? Yeah, I

Michael Keller 44:49

appreciate Brian now definitely visit our website please at a keila a hit me up on Instagram Mike net Akilah mF and definitely look forward to to meeting you guys and expanding our network.

Brian Briscoe 45:07

So anybody listening, all that information is going to be in the show notes. If you want to contact Ellis or Mike definitely scroll down to the show notes. And if you've listened to the episode, there's a lot of value in contacting people who read who resonate with you. So, hit those show notes, scroll down, tap and contact. Once again to both you guys, thank you so much for coming on the show today. I think there was a lot of value in this. And quite frankly, I wish we could continue this conversation for another hour. But Time's up.

Thank you for listening to the diamond 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 capital comm slash podcast 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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