Commercial real estate philosophy

General Advice

NOV 13, 2021

I don’t like being told what to do, especially if it involves changing myself. I like being in control of my desires, I’m uncompromising and selfish. I have a huge appetite for risk and am put off by people with little ambition. My traits are a byproduct of my upbringing (but also probably my youth lol).

Last week, I wrote about how coming to terms with my good & bad qualities helped me get a grip on the direction I wanted to head in life 2 years ago. I hadn’t figured out what I truly wanted — but hey, I wasn’t aimless anymore.

With this clarity, and luck, I stumbled into real estate.

Putting money into real estate is easy, because it’s pretty easy to spend money. However, making a profit by allocating your capital in RE is the $1M question. I enjoy REI because it’s an asset I can touch — I have more control, and it provides a basic human necessity.

Fast forward to COVID-era 2020: While interviewing possible tenants, I come across an application of a man (call him Dave) who fell below my credit criteria. I initially passed, but my agent relented because Dave had good work history; what did I have to lose on a call anyways?

Weird how our small choices end up becoming the largest catalyst in our lives.

My call with Dave was surreal. As I probed his background, Dave opened about how it was difficult for him (a new immigrant) to find decent housing for his family (wife & 2 girls). The hurdle immigrants face isn’t their work record, but the lack of a credit score/history. Dave had been in the country for a couple of years and had only been able to qualify to live in ‘urban’ areas of his city; not the best places for kids.

The lightbulb in my brain started flickering.

I realized that by approving Dave’s application, I was positively affecting the trajectory of a family’s life, while profiting. It was magical! Violins were playing, fireworks were exploding, I had goosebumps. Holy shit, I figured out what I wanted to do for the rest of my life: help people like Dave & his family access good housing.

The more I thought about it, the more my purpose morphed into figuring out how I could scale faster. My internal compass pointed towards investing in CRE - why spend hours buying a of house when I could buy an apartment building with the same time?

Below are my Why and Just Cause statements, the closest things I have to my organization’s mission statement so far:

Why: To make the world a better place than yesterday.

Just Cause: Build a world where my residents have a safe, fulfilling, & empowering space to positively affect the life trajectories of their families.

It’s weird having clarity about my life’s purpose at this age. Most people around me are still figuring things out. I got lucky — I have my youth and risk appetite to make bold moves because if I lose everything now, I can bounce back. I struggle with moderation: I get lost in my sauce because I have too much fun going down the rabbit hole, I tune out everything else. I’ve learnt, from other entrepreneur buddies, it’s a necessary evil & sacrifice that comes with the territory.


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