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June 23, 2020

How To Get Started In Multifamily Real Estate In Your Twenties [Ep. 002]

Ronny Philip dropped out of college at 21 to pursue a career in real estate. By the age of 25, he along with his partners have purchased over $40 million in real estate. Ronny has massive goals for himself and is looking to grow his assets under management to $1 billion+ by his mid-thirties.

Table of Contents:

How to Get Started in Multifamily Real Estate Business

How to Get Started in  Multifamily Real Estate Business
Photographer: Gia Oris | Source: Unsplash

Darin: Ronny is in his 20s and has purchased over $40 million in real estate. His first deal as a general partner was a 215 unit multifamily community. Ronny has extremely high goals for himself and is looking to grow his assets under management to over $1 billion by the time he is in his mid-30s.

I'm excited to have Ronny on because I talk to a lot of people that reach out to me on Instagram that are younger people in their 20s or early 30s. They're trying to figure out a way how to get started in this business. Ronny is in his 20s, and I want to pass it off to him and just have him share. How did you get into the business at such a young age?

Ronny: It's been quite a journey, so I'll give you a little bit about my background. I started in real estate when I was 21. I was going to college to become a pharmacist. I was three classes away from applying to pharmacy school.

Ronny: I was working at a major retail pharmacy. The interns that were there weren't able to land full-time jobs, so I was just doing some math there. So in five years from now when I graduate pharmacy school, will there be jobs available? I just didn't feel like there would.

God gave me the gift of foresight, and what I predicted was exactly right. A lot of my friends who were graduating pharmacy school aren't able to find jobs, which is really, really sad. I ended up dropping out of college and getting my real estate license. I started off as an agent.

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Residential Real Estate Versus Multifamily Real Estate

Darin: Agent on the residential side?

Ronny: Yeah, a residential real estate agent. And started helping people buy and sell homes. I thought my path was to be like the next Ryan Serhant, or Josh Altman, or one of those.

Ronny: I realized quickly when I got into the business that, that business is not really scalable if you are building a residential real estate team at a brokerage. The reason I have found this out is I joined a mastermind. A few of the guys in the business ended up selling their teams. They'll sell it anywhere between $80,000 to $120,000, something they built for six years.

They're doing, I would say, around 80 to 100 transactions a year. That puts you in the top 1%. I was like, "Yeah, that's not going to pay off long-term." So I realized that quickly. Honestly, I didn't really like being a residential agent. It was just a lot of stress. Then I got into flipping houses, so I started doing that with my dad, which was fun.

Learned a lot on the construction side. I would find the deal, he would buy it, and I'd pretty much do everything else, list it, construction management, all that. It was a lot of fun, and then I realized that business wasn't scalable. It wasn't a business I wanted to scale because you had to do a bunch of transactions.

Darin: Now did your dad, was he already in that business, the fix and flip business? Or did you kind of bring him along as the money guy, but you had to learn from scratch?

Ronny: He's done a few, but I really helped him scale and help him underwrite and all that kind of stuff. So he has rentals and all that kind of stuff. I realized how much of a headache owning single-family rentals is.

The Headache of Owning Single-Family Rentals Paved Way to Get Started in Multifamily Real Estate

Ronny: Because I'm the guy going to the house, or the four-plex, or whatever, at 7:00 on a Sunday to fix the garbage disposal. I realized that business is something I didn't want to be involved in, and it wasn't scalable. So end of 2016, I started to rethink. I was in a mastermind, which I just dropped 12 grand on. And I wasn't seeing the path long-term, and it really bothered me.

I went to that mastermind again. They meet twice a year. We were in San Diego, and they were like, "So what do you want to do?" I said, "Apartments." And this was I'd say end of April, that last weekend of April in San Diego.

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I was just sitting on the balcony, gorgeous view. They were like, "What do you want to do?" I was like, "Well, I don't want to be in residential anymore." I was like, "So what's the thought?" Because I want to do commercial real estate, and that's what I initially wanted to get into back in 2015 when I started. I joined a large residential firm, which they're great, but they have no experience in commercial real estate.

Ronny: In June, I started Kingly Acquisitions, and I was like, "Okay. I'm going to finish out this year with the residential stuff, and then I'm going to go all in." So end of 2017, I started to wind down the residential business and doing all the different things. Going to meetups, going to conferences, going to everything like that, reading books, listening to podcasts.

Dealing With Negativities and Limiting Beliefs

Dealing With Negativities and Limiting Beliefs
Photographer: Francisco Moreno | Source: Unsplash

Darin: What were other people telling you? Because here you are in your 20s. I'm sure you haven't amassed a lot of capital at that point. Now you're trying to make the jump into large scale multifamily. You made the decision to go after it, but I have to imagine there are people around you that are telling you that you're a little bit crazy.

Ronny: People told me that I would never buy an apartment building and all that kind of stuff. There's always going to be negativity and stuff like that.

Darin: That's one of the things I really, really love about you and your story, is that you have an extremely positive mindset. You don't let the doubters and that negativity prevent you from moving forward to accomplish your goals and your dreams.

Ronny: Being positive and being strong in faith is really important. One of the things I learned is whenever people doubt you, they're probably doubting a part of themselves that want do to exactly what you're doing.

They've given up on their dream. It's just really limiting beliefs, so I never take what most people call negativity personal. It's just their limiting beliefs.

It was a challenge getting started. Being a principal, being a GP, general partner, in your 20s is really hard. It's not like us guys have a million liquid, and we had corporate jobs and a wife that has a salary, and just different things like that. There's a lot of more hurdles, but I do think it is definitely possible.

Darin: Well, you've show it's possible for sure. We haven't had this conversation before. But I am guessing, and you tell me if I'm right or wrong.

The Kind of Circle You Need to Get Started in Multifamily Real Estate Business

Darin: I am guessing that part of your hustle factor and part of your success really stems from the fact that you were so committed. That you really put yourself out there, and you went to pretty much every marketing networking event you could.

You just surrounded yourself with like minded people. Surround yourself with other successful syndicators that you were able to form relationships with. And leverage the knowledge base that they have.

Because I've got to tell you, almost every networking event that I've been to, you're there. You know everybody, so I applaud you for that. But share with us if I'm right, or I'm wrong, or it was something else that kind of helped you breakthrough that success barrier.

Ronny: One thing is if people want to take you seriously, especially experienced sponsors, you have to show them that you're fully committed. What do I mean by that? So one of my friends, James Kandasamy, he's with Achieve Investment Group.

I think he's done well over $100 million in transactions as a principal, fully vertically integrated. I met him at a conference in January of 2018, and that's also where I met my co-GP partners, Ben and Feras with Disrupt Equity. That conference was kind of like the spark to my multifamily career.

Darin: But you had to invest your time and your money to go there.

Ronny: I ended up going to that conference, met Ben and Feras, which they're incredible people. I'll definitely share how that whole thing happened and whatnot. I met James, and he posted in some Facebook group.

Get Started in Multifamily Real Estate Business by Building Relationships

Ronny: He's like, "Hey, I'm doing due diligence on an apartment complex I San Antonia. Does anyone want to learn?" I think it was a Saturday night. Sunday, I was there, and I did due diligence, so I helped him with due diligence walks and that. I started doing that for him and then other sponsors, and obviously my own deals. And I really learned that process in detail, lease auditing, unit walks, all that kind of stuff. That helped me a lot.

Darin: Now you start building the relationships with James, with Ben, with Feras. At what point, how do you figure out what value you could bring to them? They're obviously already having success, have already done deals. You're starting to build relationships. What value do you see adding to that mix?

Ronny: I guess we can go over the list of what is the value in general partnerships. What are the common skillsets? There's net worth, there's liquidity, there's track record, there's raising equity. There's due diligence, property management, asset management, construction management. So those are some of the many skillsets.

Where I think I fit in best is raising equity, due diligence, and construction management. Those are the things I feel like I'm really good at. And also, marketing, obviously. I think the reason why people started to know me more is because I started hosting my own show. Which one is The Ronny Philip Show, where I everything business leaders, people who I find inspiring. Then I had another show called The Commercial Cashflow Show, where I only interviewed commercial real estate people.

The Importance of Staying in Touch

The Importance of Staying in Touch
Photographer: Adam Solomon | Source: Unsplash

Ronny: It's being a thought leader, and that's how you can put yourself out there. That's why I think it's easier to build relationships when you're known, so definitely had a good, engaging online presence. That definitely helped. But that's kind of how it was, and staying in touch with these guys. The reason I was able to do my first deal was because one person reached out and said, "Hey, we have an opportunity in Atlanta we're about to put under contract. Do you want to be on the GP team?" We kind of talked about it.

He messaged me, Elijah Vo, he messaged me on Facebook. It was November 13th, 2018. And 2018 was probably the roughest year of my life. So whenever he messaged me, I was like, "Okay. So what do you want me to do?" He was like, "Well," and then we kind of talked about it and whatnot, and ended up putting two deals under contract in December of 2018.

Did one, we closed it, then did another one and closed it. So back to back, my first deal was 212 units. It was in Atlanta. A few weeks later, closed on the second deal, and that was 152 units.

Darin: That's crazy. So you went from basically owning no real estate. You're in your 20s, drop out of college, and you do residential real estate. Decide to get into big multifamily. The first two deals you do, 212 units and 152 units.

Ronny: You have to find the right Partners. Ben Suttles and Feras Moussa, they're with Disrupt Equity, so they're my co-GP partners. These guys are so sharp, probably one of the most on-point people I've met.

The Early Influences in the Life of Ronny

Ronny: They're just really, really awesome. I learned a lot by being a co-GP with them. They've definitely helped me grow significantly. It's just been an awesome experience, and just learning from different people. I like a shortlist of people I would partner with, and they're one of those guys.

Darin: That's fantastic. Let's go back a little bit. How did you grow up? Did you grow up in the North Dallas area? Did you grow up wealthy, middle class? What were your parents like? Were they entrepreneurs? Did they kind of instill that in you? Or did you kind of find your own way?

Ronny: So grew up here in Dallas. I wouldn't say we were super-wealthy, but we weren't struggling. Guess you could say my parents definitely worked hard. They came from India to America in their 20s and took a chance on themselves. I grew up and went to elementary school, went to a private Christian school, then went to public school. I went to a charter school, then back to public school, and then community college.

My parents are entrepreneurs. They're in the healthcare business. Learned a lot from them. One thing I learned about the healthcare business, it's great, especially I learned during this whole COVID crisis that healthcare is always needed. But then I realized, so are apartments. That's where people are quarantined. Those businesses are great.

The Courage to Take a Chance and Get Started in Multifamily Real Estate

Ronny: But there's just a lot of red tape in healthcare, so I didn't really like it. I worked at their company and learned a lot. But real estate was always more interesting to me, so that's kind of my background and how I grew up.

Darin: You mentioned your parents came to the US from India. I recently read the book by Sam Zell, billionaire real estate, I think it's called Am I Being Too Subtle? His parents also were immigrants to the US and really instilled values, we’re hard-working people. He, as wealthy as he became, he still held a lot of those values that his parents instilled in him. Did you find the same thing with your parents coming in from India? That it was kind of different from some of the other people that were in your class growing up?

Ronny: I honestly had never really thought of it that way. I do feel like my parents had incredible courage in leaving everything and coming here and building, so their kids can have a successful life.

Darin: Think about what you did too. You were in school, and you had to have a lot of courage to leave college and take a chance in real estate. Then you had to have a lot of courage to transition from single-family into multifamily. Whether you know it or not, maybe that upbringing helped kind of provide the strength and courage to push past that fear that most people have in taking a chance.

Dealing With Fear

Dealing With Fear
Photographer: Amanda Jones | Source: Unsplash

Ronny: Fear is definitely there in every aspect. Whether you're flipping a house, whether you're coming to America from a different country, whether you're buying an apartment complex. But really understanding why you're doing it is important. And having the right role models and people you look up to.

Like for example, Sam Zell, love that guy. He's the godfather of multifamily. The deals we're buying that are '70s and '80s product, he was building them back then. That's how long he's been in the business. Looking up to guys like that from afar and people you partner with definitely helps in making your dreams and your goals seem more achievable. Because you're just surrounded a lot. I think that's important.

Darin: I've only been in the real estate business for a little over two years, two and a half years. What I've found is for one reason or another, the real estate business seems to be, there's just a lot of sharing. There's a lot of people sharing information and trying to help the next guy.

People look at it, there's just a very abundance mindset in this industry. It's not easy by any means, but a lot of other industries, kind of the top people tend to not want to share with the next guy because they want to stay on top.

Where in real estate, it just seems to me, at least my experience has been that the senior guys are very willing to share and help the first guy be successful. And who knows? They may end up partnering with them on another deal down the road. So keeping those relationships alive is very important.

How Faith Played a Huge Role in Overcoming the Crossroads

Ronny: I agree. I think on the single-family side though, people keep things close to the chest. That's what I realized. On the commercial real estate side, I've had very, very large sponsors. People who own 15,000 plus units, give me some really, really solid advice.

It's definitely more open. Of course, there's going to be trade secrets and different things like that. But if you can just learn from other people and take their different processes and try to implement them on your own, I think that definitely helps.

Darin: Yeah, that's huge. So you mentioned it a few times. You mentioned your faith. Talk to me about your faith and what role that's played in your life and some of those major decisions. Those crossroads you had, and how you look at your business going forward.

Ronny: Faith is one of the most important things in my life. I come from a Christian background and born and raised Christian. People are always surprised, you're Indian and you're Christian. But yes, we do exist.

Our family's been Christian for many generations now. Faith has been a huge part of my life. Especially these past few years of breaking those limiting beliefs and stuff because when we're here on Earth. There's only so much time we have. I've had a lot of friends that have passed away at an early age.

I realized we only have a limited amount of time. What we do here on Earth is to serve God. He's given us special skillsets and whatnot, He’s created everyone in such a unique way. Faith is a huge part of my business.

God’s Denials Are God’s Protection

Ronny: I would not be where I'm at today without my faith at all. That plays a critical role in my life. I always pray about deals and partnerships and different things like that. I allow God to guide me in the right way, and him to equip me into doing what I need to do to continue serving.

Darin: I feel the same way. I'm also a Christian, and I try to start the day out every morning. One of my daily habits is to read one chapter of the Bible and then pray. Then just in the last month and a half, I've been starting to actually journal, just basically talking to God on paper. But there's definitely been times, crossroads in my life, where I kind of wanted one thing, and it didn't happen.

Then all of a sudden, you look back and I'm like, "Thank God it didn't." Just recently, I was, right before the COVID crisis, I was runner-up on a deal. And I still think that's a good deal. But it would've been a really stressful time doing an equity raise right in the middle of COVID.

I kind of looked upstairs and said, "You know what, God, you knew better than I did. There'll be another good deal coming down the pike," it also gives us some peace during troubled times.

Darin: To your point, we're only here for a certain period of time. That's one of the things I love about this multifamily business too, it's not just about you and making money for yourself. In these syndications, you're bringing on a bunch of limited partners. You're helping to grow the wealth of all those other families. That's a really neat part of this business as well.

Community Building and Relationship Building

Community Building and Relationship Building
Photographer: Dylan Gillis | Source: Unsplash

Ronny: I love that part as well because obviously, as a sponsor, you're doing it to build wealth for yourself. You're also helping others, your limited partners, your passive investors, you're infusing in capital. Let's just say a million dollars on a 200 unit deal. You're making it a safe, cleaner place to live, putting playgrounds and upgrading interiors, redoing the outside. And you're creating a community, so I think the community building aspect is really cool.

Darin: Community building and relationship building, and the relationships are relationships with. You talked about developing relationships with senior syndicators to partner with on the GP side. Then there are the relationships with all the limited partners. A lot of the limited partners, they have other responsibilities. They're business owners and they're pulling aside capital.

Instead of putting it in the stock market, they're investing in large scale multifamily. They may be retired and have shifted a bunch of funds to go into real estate. But they worked hard for their money, so they want to make sure that they're partnering with somebody that they trust.

It's pretty amazing that you, at such an early age, have been able to develop that trust with the people that typically invest in these deals, they're the 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s. Because that's when you start building up the capital. So for you being in your 20s, that's pretty impressive. Why do you think that people trust you at such an early age?

Ronny: It's being a steward to people's money. You really have to think when people are investing $75,000, $100,000, whatever the amount is. That's money that they saved up and that they're trusting you with.

Advice to Young People Who Want to Get Started in Multifamily Real Estate Industry

I don't think age has that much of a limiting belief for me personally. For a lot of younger guys, it could.

One thing I learned is as long as you have very strong skillsets, people don't really care about your age, so that's something.

Darin: You hit on the big topic there, is for the young people. There's a lot of young people I talk to that feel like they have a limiting belief. They feel like: What value could they bring to the table? They talk themselves out of being able to do it.

That's why I love your story because you were able to overcome that. You were able to look at your strengths and marry that up with the strengths of other GPs. And develop those relationships both on the GP and the limited partner side. That's been extremely impressive to watch.

Ronny: I'll give some advice for young people wanting to get started in the industry. Let's just say you're like me five years ago, and you just dropped out of college, or you just finished your finance degree. Here's how I would do it if I were to start all over again. After college, or whenever, even when you're 18, just out of high school. Find a job at a commercial real estate brokerage. You know all the big shops here.

Become an analyst, then get into the investment sales side, so you're learning your skillsets as an underwriting. When you become an investment sales guy, you get to know more about deals and deal flow and build relationships with owners.

The Importance of Starting Off in the Right Market

Ronny: Then you start making some deals done, make some sales. Use that capital and start investing it with people you want to partner with if you want to be GP.

If not, whoever you want to do business with on the brokerage side. Then from there, you can start sourcing these deals and whatnot. Then you can start doing your own deals. I feel like that's a really, really solid path. If you want to continue to grow and learn because being a GP, first time GP, is definitely hard. If you have the right partners, it definitely helps.

Darin: I would go one step further and say that. Who knows what'll happen after COVID? Coming up to COVID in the Dallas market for sure. I've talked to syndicators all across the country, and in all of the attractive markets in the big multifamily space. I don't believe you can win a deal as a first-time sponsor unless you way overpay. There are 15 offers on every deal, six going to best and final. There's going to be three deals, three offers, that are pretty close together.

Then the seller and the broker are going to get together. The seller's going to say, "Who should I go with?" The broker is going to pick the buying group that has experience and that they're confident is going to close. The broker wants his commission and he also wants to look good in front of the seller. He doesn't want the deal to blow up. Up to now, I would say it's clear near impossible. But you correct me if you think I'm wrong.

Ronny: It just depends on which market you're in. I live here in Dallas.

Overcoming the Challenges in Closing Deals

Ronny: Embarrassing to say, but I don't own any deals here in Dallas. I own in Atlanta and San Antonio. Across those two markets, 572 units. But Dallas also is very competitive. You're not only competing with other sponsors like our size, you're competing with bigger guys. Dallas is definitely a place I would love to own in. But starting off in another market that's less competitive, or finding someone who has deals here in Dallas help.

Darin: Even the Atlanta deals though, I think you said that you partnered with folks at Disrupt Equity. So you partnered with senior people to get those deals done. Like any market I want to be in, I would love to partner with someone who already has the experience or expertise there. I partnered with Disrupt because they already had deals in Atlanta.

Then San Antonio as well, they already owned one asset there, and this one was down the road. I think that definitely helps as far as breaking into markets. But once you have a few deals under your belt, as long as you can build the right relationship with the broker and you have a track record and closing record, it'll help.

Ronny: Dallas is definitely competitive. The underwriting is so much different. We're buying deals in the 60s a door in those markets. Here in Dallas, it's probably close to 100 a door now.

Darin: Different worlds. Help us understand one of the challenges that came up in one of your deals and how you overcame that.

Ronny: There's a lot of different challenges. Every deal's so different. Maybe I can just tailor to doing your first deal. It's really scary the first time. Just like whenever you're raising money and all that.

Having Confidence in Your Skillset Is Essential to Get Started in Multifamily Real Estate Venture

Having Confidence in Your Skillset Is Essential to Get Started in Multifamily Real Estate Venture
Photographer: Yomex Owo | Source: Unsplash

Ronny: Other stuff is pretty easy, even finding the deal and negotiating and all that kind of stuff. But seeing the deal to the finish line.

Darin: When people have asked me that, I said that every step was scary until you did it. Underwriting, I didn't know how to underwrite the deals. But then once you do it, it's not scary anymore.

Ronny: Going out and meeting with brokers, once you do it, it's not scary anymore. The first time, even somebody going to a meetup for the first time, they could be scared. They don't know anybody.

Once you go to one, then you're like, "Oh, I get this." People are nice. They're friendly. They share information. The scariest part is probably getting under contract and then having to raise the capital. You think you have plenty of people that have told you that they want to invest. But are they going to step up and invest?

There are many different challenges in doing your first deal. The first thing is having some self-doubt. Hey, do I bring enough to the table if it's your very, very first deal? But just having confidence in your skillsets is really important. There's a lot of different challenges that happen in multifamily. If you have the right team and you have people you partnered with that are experienced, that helps a lot.

If everyone on the team is, it's their first time doing a deal, no matter what mentorship program, no matter all that kind of stuff, it's still going to be very hard. Having someone who has operational experience, that's key.

Darin: I completely agree. So I ended up partnering with a gentleman, Raj Gupta.

The Power of Partnering With Somebody Who’s Been There Done That

Darin: He's out of Chicago, super smart guy, very experienced, he's got a funny way. I pretty much run the day to day operations. Any of the major decisions, I go to Raj and explain, "Here's what I think we should do." Most of the time, he'll say, "Yes, Darin, run with it."

Every now and then he goes, "You may want to consider this." I think back and I'm like, "You know what, that's a good idea." That's the power of partnering with somebody that has been there, done that. I appreciate his approach, where he's not saying, "Darin, that's a dumb idea. You should do it this way." He's like my board of directors, where he's not going to let us make a rookie mistake. It's key to have experienced people on your team for sure.

Darin: When you were talking about the path for somebody getting their first deal, I really like the path that you came up with. What's your thought on multifamily mentorship groups and participating in one, not participating in one, free meetups? What's your thought about? You didn't mention that in your kind of framework, so I wanted to get your sense on that.

Ronny: Those mentorship programs are great. I do think they can help. But after a certain point, you really can't scale past it. There's a lot that has restrictions and whatnot. So just do your homework in which one you're getting into. Learn as much as you can, and then hopefully continue to grow. I honestly haven't seen anyone in a mentorship group scale to 10,000 units. Not even 5000 units.

The Road We Wish We Had Taken

The Road Not Taken but Wish He Had
Photographer: Christiaan Huynen | Source: Unsplash

Ronny: Actually, it would be vertically integrated, all that, not like the co-GP stuff, where they're their own group, like the Darin group. You have 8000 units and you have Darin construction and management and stuff. I just haven't seen that in a mentorship group.

I think mentorship groups are great to meet people, get started, find passive investors. But scaling past that, there's a lot of bigger players out there.

Another advice I would give to someone getting started. Let's just say you have a finance degree and you're 22, and you have an MBA or whatever it is. Try to go and work for a sponsor that has at least 5000 to 10,000 units. They'll have enough cashflow from asset management fees. All that kind of stuff and other businesses to be able to pay you a salary and stuff.

That's one advice, but that's a very, very, very high barrier to entry. You can skip all the other steps I set. The brokerage thing and then all that, even the mentorship program. You can learn from someone who's actually operating deals at, in different markets. That's another path I wish I would've taken, or had that opportunity back when I was getting started.

Darin: Those are all good points. For me, the value of being in the mentorship group was quickly meeting a lot of other like-minded people. Other people that were successful in one, two, three, four, five deals. Like you mentioned, there's not a lot of examples that are still within those groups that are 5000, 10,000, 15,000 units. Seems like it's a place to develop and then possibly go on your own way.

Pushing Past the Fear of Taking Uncertain Steps

Ronny: The mentorship programs are great, but just do your homework on each one. Talk to people who have experience in each one, and then make a decision. I wasn't part of any mentoring program, and I've done three deals already.

Darin: But you put yourself out there and you went to a lot of the multifamily events and developed relationships.

Ronny: Yeah, and conferences and all that. It's definitely crucial in going and understanding and whatnot. There are lots of ways to network besides just being in one group. That's the point I'm trying to come across.

Darin: I agree with you there. So we talked a little bit about fear before. When you are fearful of taking a certain step that you haven't done before, how does Ronny push past that? What steps or mental thoughts do you go through to get yourself to take action when the result is uncertain?

Ronny: There's a lot of ways in handling fear, especially when you're getting started, or starting something new, or whatnot. My faith has been critical in moving past my fear. Praying and having the right people around you really helps, having good counsel. Good people you can talk to, having the right partners on deals. That has really helped me in surpassing the fear.

Darin: Those are all great points. So what's next for Ronny? You've already conquered the large scale multifamily. What's next?

Ronny: I want to continue growing Kingly Acquisitions. So I want to have a billion in assets under management by the time I'm 30. That's three and a half years from now.

Darin: $1 billion in assets under management.

The Ultimate Goal

Ronny: At least 10,000 units, that's my goal. If you have the right partners, you can get there, and having the right counsel. I would be fully vertically integrated, and I really want to go the fund route, so raising a fund. Let's just say a billion-dollar equity fund. I would love to do something like that. Get on the more private equity, M and A space. I've always wanted to be like Blackstone. That's my goal. Multifamily's just a stepping stone for me.

Darin: That's awesome. Some people will tell you, you're crazy. And then you know what, I hope that we're talking here three and a half years from now. You're saying, "I told you I was going to do it, and here we are," and you're at a billion, and now you're competing with BlackRock. That would be fantastic.

Ronny: Or partnering with them too.

Darin: Right. Either way. What's so special about you, your story, is that, you just keep breaking the limiting beliefs. A lot of people would just be like, "What you've done so far is just amazing." But you're already catapulting it to the next stratosphere. It's fantastic.

Ronny: If you can find concrete examples of people you want to be like, I literarily have a dream advisory board on my phone.

Darin: Who's on that board?

Ronny: There's a lot of people. For private equity, Steve Schwarzman with the Blackstone Group, David Rubenstein with Carlyle Group. All the guys like Leon Black, Robert Smith, Henry Kravis, Ray Dalio, Larry Fink. For multifamily operators, Sam Zell, Swapnil Agarwal with Nithia Capital, Carlos Vaz, CONTI, Scott Everett, S2 Capital. There's a lot of different guys I look up to because they've scaled. I'm learning a lot.

Finding Concrete Examples Helps to Get Started in Multifamily Real Estate Business

Finding Concrete Examples Helps to Get Started in Multifamily Real Estate Business
Photographer: Carine L. | Source: Unsplash

Ronny: For real estate development, Stephen Ross with Related Companies. So I just have this list of people that I just look up to, watch interviews, have talked with them. I've sat down with them personally. And I think that really, really helps because you have to know. You can't hit a target you don't see.

Finding concrete examples can definitely help. If anyone's interested in seeing this dream advisory board, just have them reach out to me, be happy to share it.

Darin: Sounds good. That was something new that I learned. I'm excited to watch it happen.

Ronny: Have you read Think and Grow Rich? There's a principle, the mastermind principle. You kind of talk to your mentors in your mind, type of thing, or even reach out to them. Having the power of a mastermind, or an advisory board, or people you can talk to, who are on different levels.

Have a mentor or someone you know at 1500 units. Then those guys reach up to guys who have 5000 units. Those guys reach up. I always ask my mentors: Who are their mentors? And who are they reaching out to, to go up?

Darin: That's a great question to ask for sure. Because I was in this camp a couple of years ago before I got involved in real estate. Any of the money that I put aside for investments was in the stock market. It was either in ETFs, or individual stocks, or both after-tax and retirement funds.

Getting Started as a Passive Investor

If we have people on the line that have not invested in real estate before, want to get involved in passive investing, help explain. What do they have to go through? And what're the best means for them to go down that path?

Ronny: To get started as a passive investor, definitely get educated, where that's going to the meetups, going to the conferences. If you're here in Dallas, you're pretty lucky because all the conferences happen here.

Going and meeting sponsors, people who are doing deals. Sitting down with them, having lunch with them, Zoom meetings, calls, all that kind of stuff. Find sponsors where you want to, that have deals that are in the market you want to be in.

Darin: You brought up a couple of things. For people in the real estate world, using the app, Meetup, and looking for local meetup groups is very commonplace. For somebody that isn't in that world, they may not have ever used that app.

It's an app on your phone called Meetup. And you can put in apartment investing, or multifamily investing, and then look for meetup groups. And they're free meetup groups in your local market.

Then to Ronny's point, you go there and you try to meet as many people there as possible. When you meet other sponsors, indicate that you have an interest in possibly investing passively and then exchange business cards. From there, that sponsor will then reach out to you next time they have a deal. You want to get on as many people's list as you can and look at as many deals as you can.

Getting to Know Your Investors

Darin: They'll typically come out with a webinar that will describe the deal. Even if you're not ready to invest in that deal yet, attend that webinar. It's another learning point. The first thing that Ronny said, was get educated, that's one way to do it.

Ronny: Definitely getting to know your sponsors and building a solid relationship with them before you invest is critical. Sit down with them, get to know them, get to know their business plan.

Darin: That's foreign to a lot of people too. When you buy a stock, you just go onto your brokerage website and buy the stock. You don't get access to the executives. In these private placement deals, you do get access to the sponsors, the people that are putting the deals together.

To Ronny's point, get together with them at the coffee shop, at Starbucks. Go grab lunch with them and really get to know them. See if it's somebody that you want to do business with.

Ronny: You want to build a solid relationship with them because you'll be investing their deals for a few years. It's important to have a solid relationship.

Darin: That was a lot. I really appreciate you coming on the show. If somebody wants to reach out to you, what's the best way to get in touch with you?

Ronny: Any social media, you can just search Ronny Philip, on LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook. That's the best way.

Darin: I really appreciate having on board. You young listeners, you have no excuse if you want to do this, Ronny is the example. Learn from him, go and take action. Until next week, listeners, have a great week.

How to Reach Ronny Philip

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Darin Batchelder

Wealth creation through real estate provided me with a new passion to get the word out and let others know that they have an alternative to investing in the stock market.

If I can inspire and educate just one person to take action that results in life changing wealth creation then the work to launch and grow this podcast is well worth the effort.

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