By Jadde Rowe, Jake & Gino member since 2019
“This is my two-week notice.” I could not believe these words were coming from my mouth after a successful two-year career as a young recent University graduate. I remember calling my mom on the way home asking, “Do you trust me, do you care about me, do you want to hear what I just did?” She already had her suspicions, “You quit your job, didn’t you?”
Four months after that conversation, and I am now sitting at a Title company’s office ready to sign for an 18-unit apartment complex. How do you ask? Why do you ask did a 24-year-old leave a successful IT Audit career to pursue his passions within multifamily real estate?
I first joined the Jake & Gino community in November of 2018 to become educated in real estate and network with other like-minded individuals from across the country. The initial plan was to purchase a duplex and house-hack it until I could save-up enough money from my career to buy another, with really no plans to leave my career anytime soon. I mean, why would I? I had just bought a nice, new fancy car, was investing a large chunk of money into a 401K plan at a young age, could spend quite freely as a single male, and I had the support from family and friends.
“WHEN YOU ARE YOUNG, WORK TO LEARN, NOT TO EARN.” – Robert Kiyosaki
I then had a complete mindset change after my first coaching call with Bill, Jake & Gino coach and fellow real estate investor with over 1000 units. We discussed where I was at, what my “story” was at the time and why I wanted to pursue multifamily real estate, which was ultimately to have control over my future and my time. I had grown up in real estate my entire life, but did not even pay attention to it. Part of my family owns and operates rentals, including apartments, for as long as I can remember. The funny thing is that I used to cut all the grass and one time I said to myself “Why would someone want to own something like this?” I had my plans engrained in my head from the 21st century social norm: Go to a prestigious University, graduate with honors, get a high-paying corporate job and work your way up the ladder. The thought of full entrepreneurship had never been a thought.
That all changed when I spoke with Bill on the phone. He could tell I had education, I had the drive and passion, and even the support, but there was one thing missing. FULL COMMITMENT. He asked me one simple question that radically shifted my mindset – “Why would a millionaire trust you to take their money and invest in an apartment alongside of you?” I had no complete answer. He told me education is very important but where I am at right now, I need to jump! I need to jump out of corporate and get “in the weeds” of real estate to build my credibility beyond just the classroom and take control of my time. I mean, it was difficult enough to even find time in the workday to slip away for 30 minutes and take a call from him. What If I had started networking with brokers and they called me up one-day and said “Hey Jadde, I have a perfect property for you that I plan to list soon. Can you meet today at 2:00pm for a tour?” There was no way I was going to be able to just leave work in the middle of the day to go look at a property without hearing about it the next day. Bill had suggested a property management or asset management position for me. That way, I could continue to build my credibility, and have better control of my time, even if that meant taking a big pay cut. Now was the time for me to learn, not to earn. and plant the seeds that will later pay dividends for me.
I ended up applying for what was probably 25 jobs later that night and an additional 10 over the next week. I started asking around and networking and finally landed a position that I felt was the perfect opportunity for me, and oh did I take a pay cut. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous, but I trusted in myself to make it happen and give it all I had, because I was now committed. I even sold that nice, new fancy car I spoke about earlier for a lot older car to save on gas and not have any loan payments. If I was going to make this happen for myself, I needed to do everything in my power to accomplish it.
Once I got over the hump of finding a new job, I started taking action towards my first multi-family acquisition. I was beyond the duplex phase, and knew that I could take down and manage a multi-family property through the education from Jake & Gino, and my new job that allowed me the flexibility. I had another call with Bill and spoke to him about the massive action I had taken. He was thrilled! He told me the next step for me was calling the brokers. I immediately started calling some brokers in the market I wanted to invest in, and even called a local bank to ask about the multi-family specific brokers they would recommend. I set up coffee with one of them to get face-to-face and start building a true relationship. With my “Questions to Ask a Broker” sheet from Jake & Gino I was armed and ready to go for the meeting. After the coffee, he was impressed. The conversation flowed very smoothly, and he told me everything I needed to know about the market essentially and some buildings I should go drive by. He did not have any listings at the time, but said he would now put me on his list. I ended up driving the market that same day touring the areas to determine those parts I liked and those I didn’t.
Following that meeting, I committed to networking with as many brokers as I could until someone had a lead in the market. I continued going to local real estate Meet Ups ,talking about what I was doing and what I was looking for. Finally, during one conversation with another investor at a Meet Up, I had a lead! A broker overheard my conversation with another investor and interrupted me to tell me about a back-pocket listing he had that was set to hit the market soon. I spoke with him more about this opportunity and asked him to send me over the financials later that night. I reviewed the financials, the property, and the location and knew this was the opportunity I had been waiting for. First, it was in a perfect location, and second based on how the numbers were provided to me the owner was a true “Mom & Pop” owner just like Jake & Gino had spoke about. I immediately called the broker and set-up a time to tour the property. I then called my family who knew I was actively pursuing a property for us to take down.
During the tour, we saw there was tremendous upside to the property with more efficient management in place, and rents that could be raised after light renovations. After studying the market, we knew the rents were below market even in current condition, but with light-value add renovations including new vinyl flooring, paint, carpet, and light fixtures those rents could go even higher. After all negotiations, the property was under contract, due diligence had been completed and we were ready to close.
In the months leading up to that close, my entire lift had shifted. A few months ago, I was sitting in a cubicle and now had just closed on my first-real estate investment. I would be self-managing this apartment along with others my family had already owned. I educated myself, took massive action, provided value, got WAY outside of my comfort zone, and had some difficult conversations along the way. Some may look and say that I have taken a step-back from where I was. While this may be true in some respects, the reality of it all is that is what is needed sometimes before you can truly achieve the success you want.
You must be willing to make those sacrifices and know in your heart it is the right thing for you. I know that I was in a very grateful situation with my family already being in real estate; however, if that had not been the case the story would not have changed much. I still needed to leave my job. I still needed to build credibility beyond the textbooks, and still would have needed the Jake & Gino for community, education, and an investor network. Whatever you are thinking about doing in your life and your career, you need to pick a single direction and act towards it. Take time to reflect and think about where you are going, what resources you have and where you want to be?
Now what steps do you need to take to make that happen? OWN YOUR STORY and OWN YOUR PLAN. Get involved in a community of like-minded individuals who you trust to reinforce your plans or challenge them. Even if your plans are challenged, be okay with feedback, it is useful when it is coming from others who truly want to see you succeed and are willing to challenge you for the better. The Jake & Gino community has made me into the person I am today, and who I will be in the future. My story moving forward will require a lot of hard work and delayed gratification, but it will all be worth it in the end.
In conclusion, I know my story and I know where I am going. DO YOU?