New Old Member Alert!! (South Florida, Broward, Fort Lauderdale)

6 Replies

Hello everyone! My name is Robert L. Saunders and I am an old new member of BiggerPockets.  I say that because when I went to sign up for BiggerPockets a few months ago, I realized that I had already had been a member since November of 2015!! That seems crazy but it makes sense because I was fresh off of finishing my Master's Degree in Real Estate Development around that time. I was looking for my first job in the Real Estate industry but I was also contemplating if I wanted to jump right into the industry on my own dime and must've come across BiggerPockets in my searches. I obviously didn't recognize the hidden gem that is BiggerPockets at that time because I didn't come back until late last year when I committed to making my first real estate investment. Either way; I am glad to be back. I am very familiar with BP now and I have gained so much practical knowledge from through the BP Podcasts.

Nonetheless, let's get down to the business of introducing myself:

As mentioned, I live down in South Florida (Broward County to be a little more specific). I am originally from NYC but moved down here in January of 2010 to raise my son in a different environment with more opportunities. It was also in 2010 when I decided to get into the real estate industry. At the time, I had a successful retail management career but when I turned 23 I went through a process of what I call metacognition. To put it plainly, I decided to take control of my life journey and change its trajectory. That day (my birthday) I decided to get into Real Estate Development. To do so, I figured that I should get a Master's Degree in Real Estate development. Unfortunately, in this country you must have a Bachelor's Degree before you can get a Master's Degree (the nerve lol). Long-story short, I set a six-year goal to earn both degrees, start my real estate career with an active firm for about three years, and then to go out on my own. Fast-forward to 2015, I had both degrees in hand (a year early) and I was contemplating if I should skip out on working with a company for three years and just go out and start doing what I was academically trained to do. I did decide NOT to skip out on that work experience because I realized that it made more sense to learn on someone else's dime.

I started working for an asset management company as their Real Estate Investment Analyst and it was one of the best decisions I could've made. I was put in a position where I was analyzing potential investments day-in and day-out. It was great because it has seasoned me, in many ways, to make quick "Go/No-Go" decisions, to not get too attached to potential assets, and to understand what criteria investors typically look for. My job ultimately made me a better investor and a better asset manager without actually being either of the two yet.

I did end up walking away from that job, but I truly loved it. I walked away from that position because I was recruited for a similar Analyst position with a brokerage company. The offer and opportunity was just one that I couldn't pass up on.

Either way, I am at the stage where I am fully confident in my ability and willingness to step out and be successful on my own in this industry. I have decided not to just jump out and start developing real estate. I believe for the early stages, it is best for me to start out by acquiring existing assets. As my portfolio and equity base grows, I will then look to move towards the development of "Trophy Assets". That is where I see my career going and I am taking the necessary steps to get there.

About a year ago I became I licensed real estate agent and REALTOR; not really to sell real estate but more so to gain access to the properties on the MLS. I am a currently a candidate for CCIM designation as well. Finally, at the end of last year, I started my own real estate investment firm. Now, I am actively looking to acquire my very first real estate investment. I would like to do a "House-Hack" on a four-plex for my first investment, but I am torn between that and remaining separated from my investment by just buying a single-family residence and renting it out.

If you've made it this far, I appreciate your time in reading my intro. I am here to learn as much as I can from everyone here at BP while also providing some insight through my academic and professional experience. Whether you are in my area or not, let's network!

Help me decide: Four-Plex or Single-Family

Hello @Robert Saunders and welcome to BiggerPockets!

First, great job on opening your own real estate investment firm.  That is an accomplishment.

Second, welcome to BiggerPockets.  As you may now, Robert, BP is the best site on the internet for real estate investing. You can network with other investors, check out podcasts, read blogs, and get your deals done the right way.  Good to have you back!

To answer your question (and this is my take on it):  Considering you just started your Real Estate Investment firm, you may want to start small and work your way up unless you feel you can handle the greater responsibility of managing a four plex vs a single family residence.  

Then, run the numbers and see if they make sense.  Remember, with a four plex, you have 4x the responsibility and maintenance than that of a single family.  Consider that in your overall decision.

The reason why I say to start small is because you can get real life experience from managing an SFR and discovering the joys and tribulations of owning one. Once you have one in your possession, you can use the cash flow to acquire more and more.

Then you can concentrate on the four plex because you'll have enough money to pay someone to manage it for you and have them absorb all the management headaches.

This is just my 2 cents.  Hope everything works out in your favor.  

Once again, congratulations and I wish you the best, Robert.

Thanks for the welcome @Jack Butala . It's good to be back on BP and I plan to utilize it the right way moving forward.

I appreciate your feedback too! I agree that it is usually prudent to start off with an SFR and then grow my portfolio from there. On my end though, I do feel like I can handle the additional responsibility of managing the fourplex. I honestly feel like I can handle the management responsibilities on a larger multifamily property as well. The dilemma comes because equity is limited at this stage so I am trying to find the best way to put my investment funds to work.

So it's a question of should I use my funds as 20% down on an SFR and rent it out as a traditional investment or should I use those same funds as 5% down (or lower) on a fourplex as a primary residence where I take advantage of the financing programs, live in one unit, and rent the others.

After understanding my position a little better, does your recommendation stay the same? Would you add anything else? Thanks again for your feedback. 

Welcome Robert! It sounds like you are off to a great start. Join some of our local meetups, I believe there are about six different locations coming up in the next week. Most are listed on the events page on BP.

Originally posted by @Rita Medeiros :

Welcome Robert! It sounds like you are off to a great start. Join some of our local meetups, I believe there are about six different locations coming up in the next week. Most are listed on the events page on BP.

Thank you for your welcome Rita! I am definitely interested in going to a few local networking events every month. One of the first things I learned is that this industry is based on the relationships you build. I saw that you have a 20+ portfolio of SFRs. I would love to get your input on whether I should House-hack a fourplex or if I should just invest in an SFR. Thanks again for responding.

Thanks for your input @Rita Medeiros ! Yes ma'am; the opportunity to live for free or for a nominal amount is very advantageous. One of the disadvantages that I'm considering though is the fact that I would be so close to the investment. It would be hard to remove the emotional tie from that investment with me and my family living there. With an SFR, I don't have to worry about that issue.

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