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Why do we Pay Double Digit Returns to our Passive Investors?

by Michael Zuber on March 18, 2012 · 13 comments


When we share our model with other real estate investors they are always intrigued by the idea of “Recycling our Capital”.  They get excited about the idea of passive or private investors investing in their business to super charge growth.

However, something happens when we tell them that we pay our passive or private investors double-digit returns on repaired and rented units.  They say things like:

“I would never pay that much!”

“Why would I pay that much when I could offer 6% or 8% and be way above market?”

“You are crazy and a stupid business person!”

Truth be told, no one has actually said the last one but I know most of them are thinking something very close to it.  I hear it in their voice.

This article was actually sparked by a conversation I had with my accountant while preparing my taxes for the year.  We were reviewing the year and highlighting what we are doing and when I told him what we are paying for private money, he asked, “Why pay 10%, why not 8%?”

I trust this guy and I consider him a good friend, so I had to sit back and think about it.

So this is why we do it:

By offering above average returns on repaired and rented units, it enables us to work with a select client list.  We have our pick of investors and can chose to pass on investors that are too much work.  Some people are great to work with and some will chew up endless hours of your day and not be worth the headache.

In addition we are happy to pay an extra 2%-4% over what some people say they would pay as we want our investors to profit for working with us.  I think grinding the interest rate down is short sighted and does not show mutual benefits.  In our business model, we want to ensure both parties feel extremely happy about working together.

Another reason we pay above average returns is we are not looking to do skinny deals.  If we need to lower the interest rate 2% to make a deal profitable then we need to pass on the deal.  In our model, we insist the investors understand the margin of safety we are building into the deal.  If I need to lower the interest rate 2% to pencil a profit, the deal does not fit our investing criteria.  The higher interest rate means we only go after the most profitable deals.

Do you know the difference in an interest only mortgage payment when the interest rate difference is 2% on a 40K loan?  The answer is $66.66 a month or $800 a year.  On deal by deal basis, this amount should not be your focus.  Instead, focusing on building a portfolio of assets bought at distressed prices.  If you can help people earn an above average returns on their cash or IRA you should be happy to pay it.

To conclude, a double-digit return gives us a marketing advantage over other investment options.  It allows us to work with investors we want to instead of investors we have to work with (Big Difference).  It ensures we only close on the most profitable deals.  Lastly, we get to help people earn above average returns on their cash or IRA.

Good Investing

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Sharon Vornholt March 18, 2012 at 10:31 am

Great way of thinking “long term success” Michael.


Mike Z March 18, 2012 at 10:20 pm


Thanks for the great wishes.

Same to you

Good Investing


Karen Rittenhouse March 18, 2012 at 11:15 am



We pay our investors very well for another reason, one I don’t believe you mentioned – we only need to find great investors once. After they’ve done a deal or two with us, they never leave. They stop looking for other investment opportunities because our rates are hard to beat, especially when you consider that they’re backed by a hard asset – real estate!

Thanks for the post.


Mike Z March 18, 2012 at 10:21 pm


Keep up the good work

Good Investing


Chris Woods March 18, 2012 at 12:04 pm

Thanks for openly sharing your business model with everyone. I look forward to meeting you in Denver.


Mike Z March 18, 2012 at 10:22 pm


See you in Denver

Good Investing


Jeff Brown March 18, 2012 at 3:44 pm

Not observing anything new, but this is why people read what you write, Michael. Simply put — you get it — and a half.


Mike Z March 18, 2012 at 10:23 pm


I look forward to your session in Denver and spending some time together

Good Investing


Ziv Magen March 18, 2012 at 5:54 pm

Couldn’t agree more with Karen, up there.
A steady, reasonable profit margin will enable anyone to pay their investors double digits (we do it too), and thereby attract more investors.

In truth, once your infrastructure and a good team are in place on the ground, why would you not normalize the process? It’s easy to lower your fees and still be profitable for everyone, yourself included, through sheer amount of good reputation and word of mouth. We’re firm believers in that ourselves.


Mike Z March 18, 2012 at 10:25 pm


Couldn’t agree more

Good Investing


Ken Corsini March 20, 2012 at 7:56 pm

Great points – I get asked the same question in our business all of the time …. I think I’ll just point them to this article going forward!


Elaine Salt| June 3, 2012 at 6:27 am

You have a great principle in running your business. Usually, business would only care for their own advantage and not think of their clients or partners.


Jason Homes June 4, 2012 at 11:03 am

To succeed in real estate business you must learn not only to enrich yourself but you also have to think the people whom you have worked with.


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