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December 6, 2022

Freedom Of Time With The Competitive Multifamily Ninja Miriam McKisic [EP130]

Do you want Freedom of Time? Miriam McKisic grew up with an entrepreneurial family and has taken that entrepreneurial spirit to the multifamily real estate investing industry. Freedom of time is extremely important to her and she loves to share with others how investing in multifamily can provide them with freedom of time. Listen and learn!

Table of Contents:

Grab My New Book: Why Not You?
Grab My New Book: Why Not You?

Pushing Boundaries for Freedom of Time

Pushing Boundaries for Freedom of Time
Photographer: Markus Spiske | Source: Unsplash

Darin: Miriam McKisic competed on the hit television show, American Ninja Warrior. She's competitive and she continues to push the boundaries on what she can achieve both physically and in business. She found the multifamily real estate investing industry where she can compete, she can scale, and most importantly it helps give her the freedom of time that so many people are chasing.

Just a little bit on how we know each other. This is actually our first time talking to each other. I've seen Miriam on social media. It intrigued me and I asked her to come on the show. The other thing I think is important is I have a lot of people come on the show that have 1,000, 2000, 5,000 units and some people just can't relate to those people. Finding other people that are getting started and are earlier in their journey I think is important to expose that to other listeners as well. Can you share where you are on your journey, how many properties and how many units you're invested in?

Miriam: I'm based in Tampa, Florida. I've been born and raised here, so I love to invest here. It's like my main goal. However, what my portfolio looks like right now, I'll start with my passive investments first because I do both. I believe in both avenues of investing. Passively I'm in a 104 unit here in Plant City. There's also a development project that's happening on the other side of that asset on the same property. That's a unique fun passive investment because the earnings and cash flow for that one's a little different because it's an existing and a development. And I love that it's local because then I can drive by and see it.

Golden Triangle

Miriam: And then I'm in a fund that's also in Florida, we call it the Golden Triangle, Florida. There's Gainesville, Orlando, and Tampa. That is where this group that I love investing with invests primarily in. And that fund is unique. It's a lot of small and midsize multifamily altogether. I got to do a lot of due diligence walks on some of those assets so I could touch and feel what those actually look like too. And then thirdly, I'm passively invested in Texas because we all like diversification. I'm sure you're a fan.

Darin: Yes, I'm a fan of Texas.

Miriam: And I am too. It's honestly, Florida and Texas are like, everyone knows those are great markets. They're hot as can be, there's just some longevity metrics there that you just can't ignore. I've invested passively there. And then actively, I've got a nine-unit that I'm a co-partner on in Bradenton, Florida. That's just south of me in Tampa about an hour. And then I own a single family rental, which happened to be my first house. When I got married, Josh and I, we bought a house. At the time it was super intimidating, but I am so glad we did that. We bought in 2013. So you can imagine the value has done very well in renting it, it prints cash. That's where I'm at right now in my current portfolio.

Darin: Well, why did you get involved in multifamily to start with?

Realizing the Importance of Freedom of Time

Miriam: My journey is interesting. I'm an industrial engineer by training. I went to the University of South Florida and I thought I was going to climb the corporate ladder. In our society, we're kind of, I'm going to say the word brainwashed, but it's really not negative in that sense. It's just culturally we are trained that there is a way to do it, a way to do things. I thought that engineering was going to be my path to success and basically becoming an executive would be the pinnacle of my career.

But about three years ago now, I'm doing my career thing, I'm one of four girls so I was the only one to complete college. I come from an entrepreneur family, so they're all like self-employed but in small business. I don't know, I just felt like college was going to be the thing for me because I wasn't really getting bitten by that bug. Anyways, long story short, I discovered that I wasn't enjoying it as much as I thought I would.

Darin: You weren't enjoying college or the corporate world?

Miriam: I'm sorry, corporate world.

Darin: Corporate world, right?

Miriam: I'm like 10 years into my career I'm looking at where I'm at. I'm making good money and I'm comfortable. I'm also in my 30s now and I think once I started on that new decade of my life, I realized that time freedom was just way more important and started making me think differently. I also stumbled upon a wealth advisor online actually through a connection, through my church.

The Different Paths to Freedom of Time

Miriam: His name is Jim Baker. He was an incredible teacher on wealth and finances. He talks about the next phase of wealth, not budgeting and getting your finances under control. But now that you don't have debt and now you're on your feet, how do you actually grow your wealth? Anyways, I was educated by him and of course he talks about paths to wealth and real estate was one of them.

He's into real estate himself, but he connects you with other people who are in those different areas of wealth building. And then I found some coaches in Sarasota actually who do residential real estate investing and that started in the summer of 2020. So as you know, COVID hit 2020 and everyone's looking around for, what is my life? People are just second-guessing and you either pursue a different avenue because you're motivated and you're like, there's probably something better to do or you lived in fear. I felt like you were in those two camps a little bit.

I don't know, I guess I kicked into a gear of like, no, what am I going to do differently to protect myself and my family and grow my future? And so real estate just spoke to me. When I learned about the different paths to wealth and in my mind and what I learned it was real estate was one. Investing in the stock market. That's definitely a real avenue to wealth, it just takes a long time.

Diamond in the Rough

Miriam: And then there's owning your own business, which is like that diamond in the rough, you either fail or get wildly successful. Real estate was the third prong that really interested me because there were all these facts around it. Most of the world's millionaires have real estate. There's a consistency there that these other paths to wealth didn't really offer. It's just the most proven strategy.

And so I just like that. I started consuming some books. First of all, I got into that coaching group with the single family and I thought that was going to be how I was going to do this thing. But then someone in that group said, I'm just connecting and networking and this awesome woman. She's like, this is my book list I'm reading right now. You might like this one about multifamily. And I was like, first of all, what's multifamily? It was actually Michael Blank's book. Have you read Michael Blank's book?

Darin: I haven't read his book but I have it sitting in a pile of unread books. It's one that I bought and I'm planning on reading at some point, but I just haven't gotten to it yet.

Miriam: Actually it's a stealth book because the title is not, it doesn't actually say it's about multifamily. It just says, I think it's finding financial success through real estate. And then the sub tech, the sub-line is, learn to quit your job in three years or something like that. And I was like, what? I gobbled that book up and I am not a reader. So there's that. I gobbled it up in two days. It's not an intense book. So there's that.

The Quickest Path to Freedom of Time

The Quickest Path to Freedom of Time
Photographer: Lili Popper | Source: Unsplash

Miriam: But I just ate it up. I realized that multifamily was going to be my perhaps the quickest path within real estate. Real estate already being a fast path to wealth, but multifamily with its benefits of scale, its benefits of just being able to get to where you want to get sooner because of the scale. It just made sense to me.

I chose not to be intimidated by it because I happen to be a team player already. And I just hate working by myself anyway. I knew that, well, I'd rather do this with people than by myself, so let's do it. And just ever since then I just never looked back. I kept the single family house because it made sense and educating myself was like there's no reason to get rid of this asset. But that fall I joined an actual multifamily mastermind, which you know him I believe, David Toupin. I joined David's group. He was just launching his group in November of 2020. And so I bought into that one. I'm so glad I did.

Darin: Good guy. I actually went on a mastermind with him and his group in Jamaica a couple of years ago.

Miriam: That's awesome. I know, like a Secret X trip?

Darin: Yes.

Miriam: I really want to do one of those one day, I have it on my list. But yes, that's how it all started and it took off from there.

Darin: That's fantastic. A few comments based on what you said. One is, look, in terms of options and education, growing up, really people don't talk about these other options.

Passive Investing Requires Time and Attention

Darin: I grew up in an entrepreneurial family and I always wanted to own my own business, but I thought investing just meant investing in the stock market. I didn't even realize you could do this until about four or five years ago. I applaud you that you found it. And I think that that's part of the goal of having a podcast or having conferences, is introduce it to more people. The other thing that you said which I think is key, is that you don't know what's going to happen next until you go and do it. You bought a single family house to live in and then you ended up renting it out and then you saw the growth of it and you decided you wanted to do real estate.

And you could have stayed in single family, but you got introduced to somebody that pointed you to a book. You read the book and then you said multifamily is where I want to be. It's one little step after another. I really want to emphasize that to listeners, is that you have to take some action, whether that's going to a meetup group and just meeting some people, go to a conference, read a book, listen to a podcast, do something. Because you don't know what's going to happen next. So now you're starting to invest passively and you're starting to get into the active deals. What does your growth path look like?

Miriam: As you might know, passive investing side is super attractive. Once you start really getting into the active side, you understand truly how much effort and time and attention it takes to do this right.

The Hockey Stick Graph

Miriam: I just have a lot of respect for active investors as I'm progressing through my multifamily career. And I know it looks like the hockey stick graph, I don't know if anyone's described it to you, but in multifamily you're like this forever. And those who are watching or listening, you can't see my hands. But if the hockey stick graph, imagine a hockey stick on its side with the end of the stick shooting up at the end. That's what multifamily does. You have to have tough skin and a lot of patience to stay on that long but steady Eddy track. Then all of a sudden you're going to hit this inflection point where, and this is the magic of multifamily, it's going to take off.

Darin: Have you hit it yet?

Miriam: No, the short answer is no, but I am getting closer to it. I know I am and I feel it. I look back, I'm part of an amazing smaller accountability group with a couple of women in my area. We remind ourselves how far we've come. It's true, in November of 2020 is really when I started educating myself on multifamily. I'm about to hit my, what? Two year anniversary this month and I can't believe where I'm at. It took two years, but also I work full-time and I do a lot with my life. It's not like I'm doing this full-time. Multifamily has really afforded me, I'm really seeing the benefits of the scale. Let me back up, because you asked me what are my goals with active investing? I still want to own my own assets, don't get me wrong.

The Ticket to Freedom of Time

Miriam: But now I'm seeing the power of how passive investing is truly the ticket to freedom. Because now you can sit back and relax basically and let your money work for you. Granted you can make more money on the GP side quicker. It's like you have those advantages. But I like to diversify in both, but I probably don't have as much gung ho about owning a lot of my own assets as I did maybe a year ago.

Now that I've been experiencing my little nine unit in Bradenton, so many good lessons are being learned in that project. I'm just glad that I'm doing it with nine units and not 900 for my first. Because just the risk appetite, it's like I'm learning all of the things that are going to be important for every deal I do hereafter. But instead I can sleep better at night knowing that it's nine units and something I am financially in control of more than I could ever be with multi-million dollar assets.

Darin: Part of that I think is mindset and for listeners, do what you think you can achieve. Whether it's buy a single family house or buy a duplex or buy a six unit or nine or 12 unit or get into 100-plus unit. Some people can go big right away. Their mind lets them do that. I went from a duplex to a 76 unit but you have to do something and then that something you know end up after you do that you get all these learning lessons and then you also get charged up for, okay, well, what's next?

Mindset Growth Is Huge

Mindset Growth Is Huge
Photographer: name_ gravity | Source: Unsplash

Miriam: Don't get me wrong, I actually do have a big appetite to go at least double the size for my next one. Because of it, I'm just saying I really appreciated the fact that, because my money's on the line too.

I just enjoy knowing that I have more control over this situation personally. And then like I said, learning the lessons that I'm learning, I'm just going to carry that forward. I'm so glad it's happening now and not maybe something that might be a lot more stressful later. But you're right, mindset growth is huge. Here I am loving multifamily, knowing it's my dream, but I still have work to do with growing that mindset. It is crazy where you can go in that growth mindset. I'm still working on it.

Darin: I was scared to do the duplex and I had the funds. Look, I'm a little older than you are, I'm 52. And so I got going four or five years ago. I had the capital but I was still scared because it was new, something I hadn't done, and I was like, I don't want to lose. That's how so many people think, is they think I don't want to lose. But I've interviewed so many syndicators that have been extremely successful and they think of a different question. They think, what's the worst thing that can happen?

And I'm like, wow, that's a different way of looking at things. Instead of being like, I'm afraid to lose. Well what's the worst thing that can happen if this thing goes south? And then what's the other side? What's the upside and which one is more probable?

A Marathon to Achieve Freedom of Time

Darin: And the upside is more probable. That's huge. Now being younger, getting into the real estate investing world, did you have friends and family that were like, what are you doing or were they supportive?

Miriam: Family has always been supportive of me, which is, I'm very blessed to have that, and being that they're an entrepreneurial family and I grew up with that. My dad was a cabinet maker and he built cabinets for a living. And my mom was an artist and sold her work. My sister is a self-employed photographer and she's amazing at it. We always were taught at a young age how to be self-sufficient.

So because of that I feel like I've always had support no matter what. What I ran into though wasn't so much the lack of support, was just the unable to understand why it was such an amazing asset class. It was almost like too above their heads. I find myself educating people a ton. My immediate circle, even my husband, he's on board now. But he didn't understand why I was going to so many conferences and meetups and he is like, what's it doing? He didn't see any fruit really. He's like if we're going to make money, let's make money right away. But I was like, it's not how it works.

This is a marathon not a sprint. And so explaining that part to people has been something I've noticed right away, it's a journey. There's no such thing as quick money.

Persistence and Consistency

Miriam: I'm sorry, unless it's the lottery or you know got lucky on the stock market. You hear stories about this and I feel like society glorifies those situations when really reality is not that.

Persistence and consistency and the small steps every day are what makes the big difference in the end.

Darin: And the wealthy they invest in real estate, one of the big things they're looking to grow their wealth greater than inflation, but they're also concerned with capital preservation. Where am I going to park my capital and not have the stock market go down by 30, 40%?

Miriam: That's right.

Darin: And they choose real estate. Look, every investment including real estate is cyclical. There are times where real estate goes into a bad time and values go down. It's important to be able to ride those out and then come out the other side. You've got an interesting, I don't know what you want to call it, hobby.

Miriam: Yes, you could call it a hobby.

Darin: I don't want to give it away. So share with the listeners what that is, your tagline on Instagram, and claim to fame.

Miriam: Sure thing. I dubbed myself the Multifamily Ninja. The word ninja actually comes from what I actually do for fun, and that is I do ninja warrior. Those of you who are listening might recognize or know of the show American Ninja Warrior. We have that here in America. It's actually in other countries too. But I got into it because my sister, remember I come from a family of four girls.

The Multifamily Ninja

Miriam: My middle sister Charity, she actually makes a living online. She's a social media influencer. She actually got on the show back in 2018 and we watched her live in Miami on American Ninja Warrior. We've always been active our entire lives, we've been adventurous, we try new things. So this wasn't a surprise that she got on the show and was like, she was training for it in someone's backyard before.

Darin: Before they had any gyms focused on that.

Miriam: They were definitely around, don't get me wrong, but in Florida where we're at, there was no gyms. And so she got on the show, we watched her live and I'm like, why am I not doing this? This is so fun, this looks so fun. She did really well. She went onto the next stage and then I basically, I got my feet wet in the sport later that year and then we both got on the show the following year.

Darin: Did you really? So you were on the show, you and your sister?

Miriam: I was on the show.

Darin: That's so fun that you and your sister were on the same year.

Miriam: It was super fun. Now the way it works is not everyone's broadcasted. You might recall if you've seen some of the episodes, you only see 20, maybe 30 people run in a night, but there's hundreds competing actually. And so that's how the producers pick and choose. It's really reality television. They pick and choose what they think is going to make the best TV at the time. I fell a little early because I was a new ninja, baby ninja.

You’ve Got a Unique Nature to You

You’ve Got a Unique Nature to You
Photographer: Kalei de Leon | Source: Unsplash

Miriam: I look back then and I'm like I shouldn't have been on the show. It was so out of my league at the time. But I got hooked and I've been training ever since. There are now national leagues that you can join and win competitions and I do that in my spare time. I train all the time and I do hope to apply for the show again this year.

Darin: That's very cool. My kids, my son is a senior at Texas A&M, my daughter's going to be going to college down your way actually in Florida in January. It's hard to find a show that the kids like and the parents. Now, it was probably when they were eight, nine, 10 in that timeframe, but that was one of the shows that we liked to watch altogether, was American Ninja Warrior.

Miriam: That's awesome.

Darin: When I saw your tagline and that was a hobby of yours, I thought that was so interesting. And to be a woman, have that type of hobby and to be focused on investing in multifamily, that typically you don't see all that together so it makes you stand out, which is great. Talk about how that has helped open doors or conversations or whatnot.

Miriam: It's been everything actually.

You don't understand how much your personal brands, in this day and age it is so important to find that for yourself. The good news is everyone has one. I feel like that's also kind of like, it eludes people sometimes like I don't know what makes me special. But listen, if you're alive and you're breathing oxygen, you've got a unique nature to you and you just have to tap into it.

A Great Conversation Starter

Miriam: And surrounding yourself with people who can lift you up and pull that out of you too is really important. One of the greatest tips I ever heard was, what do people compliment you on? That is going to be a window in, a key into what you might be really good at and what might make you stand out or what makes people notice you.

So anyways, Multifamily Ninja, when I started finding my love for multifamily and I did ninja, I obviously want to become a ninja in multifamily too. I'm on my journey to that as well. But I just feel like it opens up so many opportunities within conversation. People who look me up online, they're like, oh my god, you do this cool thing.

Also, you can't really see me here but I'm a thin frame, I look like I shouldn't be able to do this. I'm not super muscular or this big athletic woman, but I just love it. I think I catch people off guard too, like, you do that? Are you sure? It's a great conversation starter and so it does open up the door for me to just talk about my life and what I'm interested in. I'm very thankful for that and I'm just leveraging it because I feel like it's my passion, why would I not?

Darin: I think that's great and I think that you had a lot of wisdom there for listeners because I talk to a lot of people and some of them may not be that confident. They're getting into the game, they want to be part of multifamily, they understand it's a team sport, but they're like, what value do I have?

Building Trust Through Networking

Darin: And then on the social media side I have people that are like, look, I'm not going to post anything or do anything until after I get my first deal or after it goes full cycle, some people will say. You said everybody has a personal brand. Everybody has a network also. Listener if you're listening to this, you have a network that is not my network and it's not Miriam's network and they trust you and they don't know us.

So if you can help educate them, even if it's, hey, I'm thinking about going to get in real estate and you start sharing stuff on Facebook and Instagram and different places, it allows your network to learn from you. Then as they learn from you, they start to think of you as being the point person in that space.

Miriam: You're building trust.

Darin: That's fantastic. I love that. So now talk about partners. How do you find partners and what are your goals surrounding finding new partners going forward?

Miriam: This is big for me. You talked about, what is your value? What do you bring to the table in this team sport we call multifamily? I've actually been on a journey trying to figure that out for myself because when you're first learning you have to experience all of it. You have to experience the underwriting, you have to experience the acquisitions. And you have to experience the capital raising, you have to experience the operations of running the actual asset. You have to get your feet wet in all of those to even figure out what you're good at.

The One Thing

Miriam: Some people are lucky and they figure out, I know that I'm going to be good at this thing. But I think that's a rarity. For me, I guess you can call it a problem, but I tend to be good at a little bit of everything. And even my personality, those personality tests that you take, I'm always even-keeled. I have a little bit of everything in every category and I've always noticed that about myself.

And sure enough in multifamily I can underwrite deals. It wasn't something I hated but it also wasn't something I loved. It's like okay, I can do this. The operations and the management. I got to walk some units with some mentors locally and I'm like, I can do this, this isn't intimidating. But at the end of the day I was like I don't know what really stands out to me. And going back to that, what I said earlier, what do people compliment you on? I started noticing that people were like, you are a great networker, you are an amazing extrovert, you light up the room, people are magnetized to you, people want to talk to you about multifamily. And sure enough I was like, that's happening without me trying.

And so that's a huge indicator to me that I probably should focus my efforts on probably the capital raising side because you know have to do a lot of education there. You have to bring equity into deals and basically like I said, build that trust through your education and networking. I am focusing on that aspect when it comes to building a team.

Abundance Mindset

Abundance Mindset and Freedom of Time
Photographer: Leohoho | Source: Unsplash

Darin: Hey Miriam, let me jump in here. You mentioned the capital raising side and you mentioned church. I don't know if you feel this way, but I feel like these podcasts and also syndications bringing other investors into the deal, let them have passive wealth creation. I feel like that's a part of giving back and serving. Not only is it helping build my wealth and the wealth of others, but I feel like it's the big man upstairs giving us a skill that we can use to benefit others.

Miriam: Absolutely. I couldn't agree more. Philosophically I have an abundance mindset. Going back to the wealth coach I mentioned earlier. I always had it in my heart and in my life mission, I always love to give. But you always feel limited by your resources. But when you have an abundance mindset, there's enough for everyone and more. It's actually more of a selfish viewpoint to have when you're I'm just going to take care of me, myself, and my family and that's enough for me.

I feel like you have to change your perspective a little and realize that abundance mindset means, giving back. There's more than enough for not only to provide above and beyond for my own family and the people I care about, but to change the world. For me it's about influence, it's about making a mark on the earth while I live here. You can't do that without resources. You can't do that without wealth and money. The people who do have it, they're the ones making change.

Don’t Miss the Opportunity to Experience Freedom of Time

Darin: It's a very interesting point and actually I just had to challenge myself in that area just recently. Because I did what you said that you wanted to do and I was a lead general partner and I did all the facets of the business. But then I started to say I wanted to be more on the capital raising and I've partnered with a lot of these syndicators. But I've invested in every one of those deals and one of my deals closed and I'm going to have a big tax liability. And then I've invested in a lot of multifamily deals over the last two years. And so all of a sudden I had a deal come up and I'm like, I just don't have the capital to put into this but I was asked to partner and I wasn't going to partner.

I was like, I had this debate in my head like, well if I can't invest then I shouldn't partner. And then I thought to myself, well you're being selfish, it's an opportunity for other people in your network to potentially invest in that deal. And so I talked to my wife about it and I went and decided to do it. Then I went out to investors and then a number of them asked me, are you investing in the deal? And I told them, no, I'm not investing in the deal. I will get a piece of the general partnership but I'm not putting my own capital in and here's why. I thought they weren't going to invest because of that. They were like, you know what, this is a good opportunity, I'm in.

Miriam: Wow. That's awesome.

Similar Philosophy

Darin: It's interesting. But I did. I felt like I had that debate, okay, should I do this or shouldn't I? I felt like God was convicting me that look you're being selfish if you don't put it out to other people.

Miriam: I love that Darin because I actually have that philosophy too. Ideally, you want to put your own capital in as a proof of concept and also building that trust with your investors. I'm doing this too. I'm on the line just as much as the next person. However, I love that at the end of the day authenticity and honesty is what makes the world turn. That's what people want to see and hear. I think you acting confidently and saying this is why I can't or why I am not doing it at this time, that right there builds trust. I'm going to actually take that tip for myself because I wish I had a lot more money to invest constantly.

Darin: Exactly. Look, I'm very thankful that I've been able to invest, I've invested 100,000 in a lot of different deals and I'm thankful for that, and then I'm like, well should I just stop now? But I'm seeing good people with good opportunities and I'm like, this was my first go at it. We'll see, going into the new year I guess I'll have more of those.

Miriam: That's awesome.

Darin: We were talking about partners and stuff. You're more thinking on the either capital raising side or organization, project management side. What are you looking for in partners? That's the value that you bring now. What are you looking for in partners?

What Miriam Look For in Partners

Miriam: Great question. I feel like for me it is the acquisitions phase, underwriting especially. I want to find partners who love the underwriting and acquisition phase of a project. Like I said, I know enough to be dangerous and I obviously have underwritten many deals myself. But there's just a time aspect there that my brain power, I just would choose to use it elsewhere. Underwriting is a huge compliment to me, my strength. And then the other side is I think the third prong would be the asset management. But I see myself more of an active partner on that side because I mentioned I do love project management and attention to detail. I do find fulfillment in getting things organized. I feel like that can is more conducive to the asset management side of the house.

Darin: Well I can tell you from experience that, look, I'm a general partner on a lot of deals where I'm not the lead asset manager. But you can still get involved. You still have different experiences that the lead sponsor, asset manager might not have. And so you can share that and possibly you guys implement some of those ideas at the property. It doesn't have to be just on the capital raising side. You can also be, partly you don't have to be the lead on the asset management but you could still add value there.

Miriam: That's right.

Darin: Now partners, you earlier mentioned that you were looking to scale too. So you want people that underwrite, find the deal, and that are larger deals?

Miriam: Yes. Larger deals in that I think going up to about 50 units.

Darin: Okay. Up to 50 units.

Be Smart and Intentional

Miriam: Yes. For right now. I feel like especially where I am in Tampa Bay here in Florida, there's still quite a bit of meat on the bone I feel like in those asset class size. I'm in a nine-unit now, so the nine, 10 to 50 is a sweet spot for me right now. I'd love to get my hands on something closer to 50 units in the near future and then always go up from there. There's levels to this game and even within this asset class it changes and depending on the asset class that you're investing in, the strategy completely changes.

When I talked about lessons we're learning, my nine unit in Bradenton is a solid C-class asset. Putting what I know in my head and the head knowledge I have and applying it to this deal, I'm just seeing how crucial decision-making is around the C-class asset and what leases it, what kind of renovations actually matter. You can't just stamp the same thing on every asset. You have to be smart and intentional about what you're doing it.

Darin: What do you mean by that?

Miriam: The renovations for example, I'm a detailed person and I feel like we should make this really nice. The C-class asset is an interesting asset and especially in the market you're in, you have to pay attention. Because the clientele, the residents that you're attracting can be a little different too. Especially now in our economic climate, there are people, the B class residents are being squeezed out of B class and having to move to C class.

A Philosophical Management Decision

A Philosophical Management Decision
Photographer: Nathan Shurr | Source: Unsplash

Miriam: I wouldn't say that's a blanket statement overall, but we're seeing it here in Florida where it's getting too expensive to live here. It's getting very pricey to live in the nicer areas or the areas that everyone wants to be. And what happens is, the people who could once afford that solid B-class asset now have to downsize and or in order to afford the same rent they were paying before maybe go to a C-class asset.

I'm talking at both sides of my mouth right now because you said what matters. There's this happy medium between making a C-class asset, a community where people want to live. Not just doing the bare bone minimum because it's a C-class and those residents don't care about the frills. I'm not saying put, stainless steel everything and quartz countertops on C class. What I am saying is there's some intentional touches you can make to make it feel like a community and make it attractive to those people who are looking just for a safe, affordable, vibrant place to live.

Again, that's a philosophical management decision too. I'm not saying that that has to happen everywhere with a C class. But for me and what my mission is in life, I'm not here just to make money, I'm here to provide communities. And so you just start making decisions differently when you have that mindset or that philosophical belief in what you're doing.

Something Good to Know From a Business Perspective

Darin: I don't think it's just philosophical. I've talked to a lot of different syndicators, and whether it's going from B to C or whether it's going from a major market to a tertiary market, where the population isn't as large, so the competition for apartments and attracting tenants isn't as heavy. You could put in all the niceties, but some places people won't pay up for that.

Miriam: Exactly.

Darin: To your point earlier, you have to really understand the market to know, hey, I'm putting this money. I'm investing this and tenants are going to appreciate it and be willing to pay up for that. Otherwise, you could have one unit that you do a $5,000 rehab and another unit you do a $10,000 rehab, and the tenants only willing to pay the price on the 5,000. You're stuck. That's not good use of capital. That's very important to know from not only the philosophical but also from a business perspective.

So now, deal flow, because I'm on that side, I'm on that capital raising side. So the deal flow for me ends up being more going forward, developing relationships with other syndicators that actually are good at building relationships with the brokers and winning deals.

Miriam: Yep. Because especially now we're entering into a recession phase, we're officially here. Everyone knows it. We're in a recession phase and that's good news on one hand because that means there's going to be deals coming on the market for maybe cheaper, but we're not quite there yet.

Align Yourself With People Who Attained Freedom of Time

Miriam: We're in this weird gray area where interest rates are still high, asset prices are still high, it's just not making sense a lot of time. But my point is in these next 24 months is where we're going to see the operators who know what they're doing really shine and really stand out from the rest. Gone are the days where you could pick up an asset and just because cap rates went down, you made a ton of money. Those days are gone. Fortunately or unfortunately I started learning in 2020 when it was actually a really good time to buy now that we're here in 2022 and you didn't have to do much to win.

But I'm quickly learning that I have to start aligning myself with those people who have proven track records and experience. It's just a necessary requirement for me. I'm still learning, I'm still considered a newbie on this journey. I am not oblivious to the fact that I need to align myself.

And I want to be the dumbest person in the room. I want to be surrounded by people who just blow me out of the water. And so that's like my mission and where I'm going, even in my skillset is probably a networker and capital raiser and things like that. That's what I'm really looking for right now.

Darin: A few questions. One, Tampa only or the whole triangle?

Miriam: The whole triangle. For me personally, within a two-hour drive of Tampa, you can get to a lot of places within two hours, but that golden triangle fits that.

Consideration for Higher Deals

Darin: Does Jacksonville fit into that?

Miriam: Just outside. Gainesville is just below at around two and a half hours.

Darin: I know a lot of syndicators that have gone in Jacksonville and have really liked that market.

Miriam: It is great.

Darin: It may be a consideration to open that up. And then the other question I had for you was, you put that 50 unit limit on. What if you meet a syndicator that has 120 unit deal, you have no interest in that?

Miriam: Oh no, I do. I think my role might change a little bit. I feel like in a 50 unit locally I could be a lot more hands-on and that's why I was saying that number. But yes, by all means if a bigger deal comes along. Going outside of state is something that I'm not opposed to, but I'm just trying to stay focused. Trying to stay really laser-focused and just accomplish one thing at a time and stay consistent.

Darin: Well here's what I've learned from partnering with a lot of different folks, is that people, one, the cost basis of these properties has gone up. What used to be 30, 40 a door, then it turned into 80 a door and then now it's 100 plus a door, 150 a door, whatever, it's gotten more expensive. There's more equity that has to come into the deal. And so what I've noticed is that sponsors, they can raise a good amount, but then they need to partner with one or two or many other people that can tap into different networks.

Be Open to Going Bigger for Freedom of Time

Darin: You have your own network. If you have a network of people that are interested in investing in multifamily, well, calling Miriam is attractive because they're not overlapping with their own network. Right?

Miriam: Yes, I see. It's like capital raisers coming together.

Darin: Yes. They may end up partnering with two, three, four, five different capital raisers in different parts of the country so that they get more exposure onto that deal. I would just say be open to that. Because I do think that you're very outgoing and I think that you're probably onto something that it's the marketing side and the partnership side that you will thrive at. But be open to going bigger.

You'll get a smaller piece, but also at the end of the day when you close, you closed on a 200-unit property and you might be a small percentage of it. But your investors are very thankful that they got the opportunity. And they only got the opportunity because you went to the conferences and you built those relationships.

Miriam: That's right. It's powerful. I love it. I'm here for the long run. I think it's a really fun game to play.

Darin: Absolutely. What's the next big stretch goal? Is it to get the 50-unit one next year? 2023, what's your next big stretch goal? Get one 50 unit.

Miriam: Yes. I would love to nail one more local asset here in Tampa Bay with some partners. I think that would be incredible. But then I would love to sandwich that with going really bigger, bigger on a deal and having that smaller GP role and playing in the bigger side too.

Why You Need to Start a Meetup

Why You Need to Start a Meetup
Photographer: Redd F | Source: Unsplash

Miriam: If I could accomplish those two things, I would feel really satisfied and happy. But I'm still working my full-time job. I'm blessed to have that engine to fuel my passion and I feel like I'm going to be in that. I'm going to straddle both boats for a while, but I feel like those two goals allow me to do all of it. Eventually I'll be replacing the income with passive income, that's the goal.

Darin: Absolutely. Look, we're just talking out loud here, but maybe you have a meetup group in your area to develop relationships or do you already have that?

Miriam: I actually was hoping I could tell you about that. Someone really close to me in the industry said, listen, you need to start a meetup. It's one of the best ways you can get yourself out there, expose yourself, especially if you want to stay local in your market. And sure enough, multifamily meetups in Florida, especially Tampa, they're basically rare. If they exist, they're really small and meeting a few at a bar or something like that. I had the opportunity to take over a meetup that another local investor had started. He was from out of state and he was just trying to get his feet wet and getting into Florida.

He started right when 2020 was closing its books, everything was shut down, but starting to reopen. His meetup was smaller, probably 10, maybe 15 people every month. And I started going, because I Googled, I was like, where can I go to meetups locally? And his was the only one that popped up.

Multifamily Meetup and More- Tampa Bay

Miriam: He's an incredible investor, his name is Dylan Marma, look him up, with The Requity Group here in Tampa. Anyways, he got super busy, his business started picking up and he wanted to retire the meetup because he couldn't do it all. And I was, I'm like, wait, don't quit, I want it to keep going.

Darin: Did you take it over?

Miriam: I took it over and we've really blown it up, expanded it. We have no less than 50 people showing up every month. Here in Ybor. And I do co-lead that with three other guys who are also part of my network. I met two of them in David Toupin's group. They happen to be local, so we teamed up. They're also killers. They're buying assets in Lakeland and killing it every day. Our goal for the meetup is just to provide real value, make connections, meet the vendors, meet the financing, meet the brokers. That's our goal for this group and it also keeps us accountable. It keeps us every month.

Darin: How do people in the area find out about this group? Where do you guys meet? Do you have a website or you go on a Meetup app or how do the people find it?

Miriam: Yes, you can find us on Eventbrite. You just search, it's a very generic name on purpose so that people when they're searching multifamily find it. But it's called Multifamily Meetup and More- Tampa Bay. And you'll see us, we got a little apartment building with a sun background as our icon. But yes, you can contact me on my website or my Instagram and I'll send you all the links. We have a landing page where you can fill out and sign up for communications.

Younger Generation Going After Freedom of Time

Miriam: We have a Facebook group by the same name. It's really great and I'm very involved in that every month.

Darin: Maybe share some of those details in terms of your website, Facebook group, Instagram tag, Eventbrite.

Miriam: My website is www.multifamily-ninja.com. That's my personal website and there's a contact form there. You can contact me anytime through that and I'll hit you up. Multifamily_ninja is my handle on Instagram or my name Miriam McKisic. Find me there and I'll message you all the links. But just look me up and I'm happy to connect you, especially if you're here in Florida or visit from time to time.

Darin: It's so nice to have the younger generation actually be interested in this. I wish I had started in my 20s and 30s, and we talked about it earlier in the conversation that people don't teach you this stuff in school. It's all about get good grades, go to a good college, get into a good company, and then climb the corporate ladder. And investing in my mind, look, I wanted to invest, but I always thought it was just the stock market.

So being able to invest in real estate but not have to deal with the leases and the tenants and the maintenance, being able to invest passively is huge. So with that, I really appreciate you coming on the show. It's a pleasure meeting you. I think that you're going to go far, I think that people like to do business with people they like. I think that you come across very likable and I think that you're going to meet a lot of great people. You're in good hands there. Listeners I hope you enjoyed that one. Until next week, we're signing off.

How to Reach Miriam McKisic

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