Getting Started in Commercial Real Estate Investing

Expanding your portfolio from single-family homes to multi-family deals is a great step … but there are other paths to an even bigger deal!

Commercial real estate investing means bigger properties and bigger opportunities … and it could yield BIG benefits for savvy investors.

From retail storefronts to office space to industrial warehouses … commercial property is full of options … each with their own pros and cons.

We’re excited to welcome to the show a seasoned investor who’s found success in single-family homes, multi-family apartments, and commercial properties. (He really knows his stuff.)

In this episode of The Real Estate Guys™ show, hear from:

  • Your host, Robert Helms
  • His co-host, Russell Gray
  • Founder and CEO of Wilson Investment Properties, Tom K. Wilson

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Considering commercial

Real estate is a resilient product … that’s why so many people are eager to get in the game.

There are tons of ways to invest in real estate. Most investors start with what they know … single family homes. But that’s not the only way!

We see commercial real estate as a great opportunity for beginning investors … and for experienced investors too.

But commercial real estate deals are not all created equally

There are different product types, different lease lengths, and different landlord laws. And then you have to choose between existing properties and new construction.

Tom K. Wilson has done half a billion dollars in real estate with thousands of units in many different places … and he knows the perks of commercial real estate.

Like many investors, Tom started his real estate career in the single family marketplace.

We promote the value of surrounding yourself with smart people …. and that’s exactly what Tom did. He soon realized an interesting pattern.

Most of the successful investors Tom knew were investing in areas away from where they lived. By investing several states away, investors found better deals and growing markets.

So, Tom started looking elsewhere. He found the Dallas market … and his first commercial deal.

Dallas was more landlord friendly than Tom’s resident Bay Area. It also offered more consistent cash flow and held up well during the recession.

Tom noted that there were some serious benefits to owning a commercial property as opposed to single-family homes or multi-family deals.

After the 2008 crash, these types of commercial deals were performing better than their residential cousins … and they tended to come with a higher level of professional management.

Typically when we talk about commercial property, we’re talking about leasing your property to a business rather than a person.

It could be a retail establishment, a strip mall, an office, a restaurant, a gas station, a bowling alley, or a manufacturing facility … it’s all commercial!

Like every asset class, there are pros and cons to investing in each type of commercial property.

Investing in industrial

Industrial properties can include warehouses, operation centers, distribution centers, and manufacturing sites.

Professional tenants that pay for a long time are one of the best things about industrial assets.

They’re also very versatile … a variety of businesses can use a property with wide open space, offices, and loading docks.

When searching for an industrial property, note rooftop expansion and passing traffic. Can the site offer prominent enough visibility to attract major brands?

Determine the path of progress for the community … this can signal if the area has the breadth of economy to support a big business.

Tom comments that manufacturing sites in particular could offer great opportunities for future returns as manufacturing makes a comeback in the United States.

The downside of industrial sites … they tend to be a single tenant product. If your tenant goes bankrupt, you’re left searching for a new source of cash flow.

“The odds of that happening are very low if you’ve done your due diligence during vetting,” Tom says, “so all in all I tend to consider the right industrial property a very good product.”

The details on retail

If you think everything is bought online … think again.

You can’t get a haircut online. You can’t meet your buddy for a drink online. You can’t take your dog to the vet online.

Everyone needs a place to live … and they often pick where they live based on where they can access essential services.  

“Retail has become a four-letter word for many investors,” Tom says. “I prefer to call these types of assets ‘neighborhood service centers’ because that is the key.”

Many large retailers are expanding their brick and mortar stores despite the online shopping craze … and online retailers like Amazon are investing in brick and mortar locations to build their brand.

Like any asset class, there’s the good, the bad, and the ugly … but don’t discount retail without the proper research.

Operating in office space

Every day, people wake up and go to work.

It’s true that more and more people are working from home … but there are still daily needs for human interaction in business.

“I don’t think it is realistic to believe we’re going to see the day where everybody’s working from home,” Tom says.

Both single and multi-tenant office spaces offer excellent opportunities for commercial deals.

Tom recommends looking for office spaces that combine work centers with service centers as the demand for more office space near entertainment venues and amenities rises.

Having an experienced team or partner on the ground that knows the area is especially important when buying office spaces. Locals will have the best read on where people want to spend their nine to five.

Commercial success through syndication

You don’t have to have a lot of money to get started in commercial real estate.

Tom has built his commercial real estate portfolio through the power of syndication.

At some point, you run out of your own purchasing power … you’re out of dollars and cents but not out of enthusiasm, passion, or expertise.

“Syndication is the law of compounding,” Tom says, “not just in numbers but in education, wisdom, and relationships.”

Partnering with those that have a proven track record, established credibility, and integrity sets you up for investment success.

And by combining financial assets, you can do bigger deals and see bigger returns together than you ever could alone … especially in the commercial space.

Like any investment, education is key.

Learn how to leverage experts through syndication and tips for successful commercial deals in Tom’s special report Commercial Real Estate – The Best Investment Secret.

Whether it’s your first deal or your first step into a new market, consider taking a look at commercial real estate investments to make equity happen.


More From The Real Estate Guys™…

The Real Estate Guys™ radio show and podcast provides real estate investing news, education, training, and resources to help real estate investors succeed.


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Resort Rehab Riches

Houses aren’t the only properties in need of a little facelift. Hotels often need their own dose of tender loving care.

Like any investment property, resorts come in all shapes and sizes … and some have major management issues.

When a hotel is poorly the managed the result isn’t pretty … it’s often downright ugly. But that means YOU have an opportunity to add value, improve cash flow, and build equity.

Listen in as we visit with two hospitality investors who find fun and profit as they renovate resort properties.

In this episode of The Real Estate Guys™ show, hear from:

  • Your resourceful host, Robert Helms
  • His relaxed co-host, Russell Gray
  • Accountable Equity’s professional resort investors, Josh and Melanie McCallen

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Broadcasting since 1997 with over 300 episodes on iTunes!

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Resort rehab done right

Resort properties offer some of the highest returns on investment of any asset class. They are an attractive real estate deal … but one that can easily be mismanaged.

When our guests, Josh and Melanie McCallen, see an ugly, non-performing resort property, they don’t see a failure … they see an opportunity.

Josh and Melanie’s team at Accountable Equity renovates and revitalizes resorts. By creating higher-quality resorts, they create more income … and more value.

But to correctly rehab a resort, you need a deep understanding of AND passion for the hospitality industry.

Most of us don’t have that. So, partner with someone who does.

The beauty of Josh and Melanie’s business model is syndication. You can be a passive partner with an active investment and see phenomenal returns.

Resort rehab done right means everyone wins … investors, staff, and guests.

Finding a home in hospitality

When they graduated from college, Josh begged Melanie to buy a duplex as an investment. They’d live in one home and rent out the other.

“I had to let go of the three-bedroom, white picket fence idea in my mind, but right away I knew what I got into,” Melanie says.

Over their real estate career, Josh and Melanie found themselves taking part in resort experiences across the globe and partnering with developers of specialty properties.

Then the recession of ’08 happened. Suddenly, Josh and Melanie were sitting on a beat-up 1970s beachfront hotel.

It was too risky to tear it down and start new development … so they decided to rehab the property instead.

“That first project was 18 months of getting our teeth kicked in, but we learned that hospitality isn’t just about the building,” Josh says. “It’s a living, breathing guest experience.”

The couple realized that they LOVED interacting with guests and putting smiles on their faces. They fell in love with hospitality … and decided to make it their life’s mission.

The benefits of a resort investment

A rehabbed resort is one real estate investment where the person paying the rent doesn’t begrudge writing a check at all.

When you’re on vacation, you want to splurge. You want to enjoy yourself and your experience … and you’ll gladly pay more to do so.

Hospitality professionals know that the happier you make guests, the more enjoyable the visit will be.

As an investor, YOU know that happy guests mean high returns.

Resorts also offer a unique opportunity to increase revenue.

There are two ways to make more money … find more people to sell the same thing to or find more things to sell to the same people.

The hospitality business allows investors to do both with relative ease.

And when you invest in a resort property, you have the added benefit of being able to enjoy your own investment … by taking a vacation.

The success of a syndicated approach

Josh and Melanie started Accountable Equity as a syndicated approach to resort rehab.

“The first thing you must do when thinking about buying one of these properties is find great investor partners,” Josh says.

Each month, Josh and Melanie host an investor summit. They bring together current investors, new investors, and prospects to tour the property and get a firsthand look at hospitality in action.

These summits are an invaluable time to help investors see how revenue from different parts of the resort build off each other.

When a party arrives for a wedding, they’ll book rooms. Since they’re staying on site, they might want to play a round of golf or spend time at the spa. They’ll need to eat, so they’ll hit up the restaurant and tasting room.

“We call it a cascade of revenue,” Josh says.

Syndication is a powerful approach to every aspect of hospitality. Beyond investment, the syndication spirit encourages team members to seek out experts in every field.

“In our current project, we’re bringing in a top winemaker for the winery. We found a golf executive on his 111th course to help with ours. It’s all syndication,” Josh says.

Teaming up for transformation

Accountable Equity’s current project, Renault Winery Resort, shows just how powerful … and profitable … revitalizing resorts can be.

As the third federally registered winery in America, the property has been in the hospitality business for 155 years.

The former owner managed the resort for 40 years, but over time began to let standards deteriorate under stress.

“We found this amazing property that needed some TLC. But we were willing to take a fresh approach, look at it differently, consider its legacy, and see its next chapter,” Josh says.

The team also studied market drivers in hospitality to determine if the resort could evolve to meet current and future needs.

With a millennial movement toward authentic experiences, a historic property … complete with a Prohibition-era speakeasy … spells out attraction.

And with nearly half of weddings taking place at a destination over the course of three days, a resort that caters to making happy couples’ special day extra special can generate big business.

It’s no small undertaking. Managing and rehabbing 120,000 square feet of buildings and 242 acres of vineyards, a golf course, and a spa requires a winning team.

“Our staff and our investors are our family. We all depend on each other, and honestly, it’s an honor to be a part of,” Melanie says.

Take part in a unique real estate niche with resort rehab investment. Learn tips and valuable lessons for getting started in a special report from Accountable Equity, 10 Steps to Resort Rehab Riches.

No matter your market of interest or area of expertise, consider what you can learn from the rehab-and-syndicate model of luxury hospitality investing.

What value can you add to your properties … and how can you leverage others’ expertise to increase YOUR bottom line?


More From The Real Estate Guys™…

The Real Estate Guys™ radio show and podcast provides real estate investing news, education, training, and resources to help real estate investors succeed.


Love the show?  Tell the world!  When you promote the show, you help us attract more great guests for your listening pleasure!