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Passive Investing with Brian Hamrick
Brian Hamrick has bought and sold over 450 units. Brian began investing in single-family homes in 2002. During the Great Recession, he purchased his first multifamily property and has since worked with private investors to acquire apartment communities, self-storage facilities, and non-performing notes. In 2012 he founded Hamrick Investment Group ("HIG") to help other qualified investors take advantage of the lucrative returns real estate has to offer.
To date, HIG has bought and sold over $21 million in assets and continues to seek opportunities that provide strong returns for his investors.
- Who Brian Hamrick is
- How he got started in real estate
- On different opportunities in the market
- Investing on non-performing notes
- What his business looks like today
- Best deals he had done by finding strategic partners
- Some non-performing note deals
- Multifamily deals
- On marketing
- Finding a strategic partner and networking
- On starting his podcast
- Investors they work with
- Advice to new investors
- "You can't do it all. You have to figure out what you're good at and what you don't want to do."</li
- "It's really about cycles and picking the right location to invest in."</li
- "Marketing is being able to tell a story."
RESOURCES AND LINKS FROM THIS SHOW:
- Hamrick Investment Group
- Rental Property Owner and Real Estate Investor Podcast
- Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Larry: Welcome to the Brain-Pick-A-Pro show live from Lake Wylie, South Carolina. I’m Larry Goins. Thank you guys so much for watching and I really, really appreciate it whether you’re watching or listening in whatever platform. Thank you so much. We really appreciate it. Please share. Please give us some feedback and we really appreciate it. We try to bring the best of the rest on as guest so you guys can learn from it. It’s not all about wholesaling or seller financing. It’s everything under the sun because real estate, there’s so many different things you can do with real estate so I try to bring you a lot of different people. They are doing a lot of different things so you can learn from them, right?
So today is an awesome day because you’re going to learn from a friend of mine, Brian Hamrick. He is a mover and a shaker. He has bought and sold over 450 units. He does multifamily. He does self storage. He does developing now. He does non-performing notes. I am stealing his thunder, so please give a warm welcome to Brian Hamrick. What’s up, buddy?
Brian: Hey Larry. It’s great to be on your show. I listened to a whole bunch of your episodes before, knowing in anticipation that I was going to be on your show. I think you do a fantastic job so I am really honored to be here.
Larry: Thanks, man. I really, really appreciate it. Why don’t you start out and tell our listeners a little bit about who is Brian Hamrick.
Brian: Well, as you said, I am Brian Hamrick. I am the owner of Hamrick Investment Group. I got my start in buying single family homes. I was living in Los Angeles buying single family homes out of state because they just seem so cheap. I bought seven of them in New Mexico, North Carolina, South Carolina. Yes, it was a good way to get the ball rolling but I cannot say that I really made any money. In fact, I probably lost money on the whole, but it got my juices going. I realized, you know what, if I want to move up and make real money in real estate, I need economy of scale so I switched over to multifamily and apartments. The problem was, I had just moved from Los Angeles to Michigan. I live in Grand Rapids Michigan and this was the year 2005 and having come from Los Angeles, I knew there was a bubble and I just waited for that bubble to burst and once it did in 2008, I bought my first 12 unit, picked up a four unit, a two unit, a 35 unit, just kept building and building until I got to the point where I realized, okay, I kind of ran out of my money and my family’s money to invest in these properties. I need to go even bigger so I started syndicating, pulling together money from high networth investors and we bought a 46-unit apartment complex, a 207-unit apartment complex, a 71-unit apartment complex and I stopped buying multifamily and apartments in 2015 because I perceive the market is getting too hot. Since then, I switched over to, yes I am still asset managing those properties, working with my investors, working with the property management company to make sure they’re doing well. But last year, we picked up a self storage facility. I have been investing in non-performing notes. I am just kind of looking for other opportunities in this market where there isn’t so much competition.
Larry: Man, that is great. That’s a big switch going from California to Michigan where in California, the prices look like phone numbers and then Michigan, you know, I remember at one time in Michigan, they were just about to pay you to take a house.
Brian: That’s true. I mean, Michigan, everyone kind of perceived. You know, when Detroit went bankrupt, everyone kind of sunk up the whole state for a while. Thank God we’re passed that point. But, I am in Grand Rapids, Michigan, we’re on the other side of the state. It’s a very different economy over here. We’re always making the top 10 list of, you know, best places to live. First economy in the midwest or in mid east, north east, to rebound from the great recession. And it’s just a great place to live and a great place to invest in.
Larry: That’s awesome. That’s really good. That’s really good. What does your business look like today?
Brian: My business today is all about, first of all, asset managing the residential, multifamily and apartments that we do own. It’s a great time to own real estate. It’s a great time to own rental property. I am just making sure that we’re doing the best job we possibly can with those properties. But at the same time, I have been searching for and I have found several strategic partners that are investing in other asset classes. So for example, I found a partner, through the podcast that I host, you know, I interview so many people, sometimes you run across someone that you say, hey I really like to invest with this person. I had a guest on my show who is investing in non-performing notes. I called him up a month after that show and I said, hey, you know, I’d like to do some investments with you. So we, over the past year and a half, we’ve invested in 12 different non performing notes. It’s kind of a joint venture that I have been doing with him. He does all the work. He knows what he is doing. I bring the money into the equation and we’ve done quite nicely, so I’ve been really happy with that.
Larry: That’s awesome, man. That’s really good because especially when you get to that level of syndication, you know, somebody can bring the deal, you know, somebody can put the money togethers, there’s all different kinds of ways you can participate in the deal, right?
Brian: Absolutely. There’s all kinds of ways that you can partner and that’s one of the things that I found in this business, is that you can’t do it all. You have to figure out what you’re good at and what you don’t want to do, and I figured out a lot of the things that I don’t want to do anymore, but I have figured out what I am good at and that’s bringing the money into the equation. Whether that means working with high net worth investors and pulling their money together to invest in these types of assets or you know, in some cases, bringing my own money into the deal. That’s what I enjoy doing. And then, helping, you know, I have been investing since 2001 so I do bring some experience to the table as well.
Larry: Absolutely. Absolutely. Almost 20 years. That’s great. It’s really good. So tell us about some of your best deals that you’ve done by finding strategic partners.
Brian: Well, I’ll give you two examples, some from the self storage and one from the notes.
Brian: So, starting with the self storage, again, through the podcast. It’s a great way to meet people. Someone who had heard me on the podcast took me to lunch. We struck up a conversation and a relationship. About a year and a half later, he brought me a deal, self storage deal. He is a young guy. He had taken some of the self storage training that’s out there and just started cold calling and the third phone call he made, he came across a couple, the perfect.
Larry: You know that never happens, right?
Brian: Yes. I mean, it’s not your perfect scenario because it was the third phone call, literally, a couple who is ready to retire, they had owned and managed this facility for at least 20-25 years. Very well managed and taken care of. We ended up buying it off market, paid a very fair price for it, but they were using kind of the one technology. You know, mailing out 180 invoices every month and doing it my hand and stamps and everything.
Brian: We switched over to a virtual management system. Got everyone online. The lease is online. So it is virtual as it can possibly be and within one year, we have added over 700,000 dollars in value to this property and then we paid 1.3 million for it.
Larry: That’s huge man. That’s huge.
Brian: Yes. So I am really excited about self storage. That’s one of the areas with my strategic partner that were going down that road, now like you said it’s very rare to find those off market deals, but we try. At the same time, we’re looking at ground up construction because right now if you look at what people are paying for existing product, the cost per square foot is double what it would cost to actually build it in the process. We’ve got some land under contract, just south of Ann Arbor, Michigan, and we’re going to be building some ground up construction, self storage there.
Larry: That’s really good, man. That’s good. I love that deal. I love that deal. That’s over 50% increase in value.
Brian: Yes, in one year. It is really just by switching over to virtual management and then bringing the rents up to market. You know, some of the rents for these units were kept low because they were long term tenants and the previous owners while doing a great job managing it weren’t really paying attention to the market. They were just trying to keep them occupied and then we realized going in, hey we can bump those rents five dollars a month and then four or five months later, we’re bumping them up another five dollars a month.
Larry: Exactly. And times 180, that’s a lot. right?
Brian: Yes, that adds up exponentially pretty quickly.
Larry: That’s awesome, man. That’s really good. That’s really good. So tell us about maybe some of the non-performing note deals.
Brian: Okay, so I have done 12 non performing note deals with my partner Jean. Jean and myself were doing these notes. I bring in the money. We JV 50-50, joint venture 50-50. We’ve had some hits and some misses of the 12 notes. Our primary goal is to keep people in their homes, so there are distressed mortgage holders, we try to work with them or I should say, Jean my strategic partner, works with them and the first question he asks them is, hey do you want to stay in your home. And if so, let’s figure out how to do it. So of the 12, four or five of them, we’ve got those notes reperforming. Those are owners who want to stay in the home and have come to the table, you know, paying their taxes that may have gone unpaid, paying their insurance, paying any fees or penalties on their own and just getting caught up and proving that hey everyone, they’re willing to cut a check. Now, because we bought these notes at a discount, they may be paying say an 8% to 10% interest rate, but on their payments we’re receiving because we may have paid 50% of the unpaid balance, our return is closer to 20% to 25% for making their monthly payments. So that’s a great scenario right there. Now, sometimes, you work with a home owner who either doesn’t live in the home and has just kind of gone missing or they don’t want to come to the table and talk to you and they just want to kind of ignore you and hope that you go away. In those cases, you do have to follow through with the foreclosure process. So, we’ve picked up a couple of properties have gone through the foreclosure process.
In one case, I’ll give you an example of probably our greatest hit. It was a small investment, a 5,000 dollar investment, a property in Indiana, and I looked at the Google photo online and the roof had holes in it. It was just the worst looking house you can ever imagine. I said to my partner, Jean, I said, why are we buying this because it looks like it needs to be torn down and Jean says, well we’re not really buying it for the house. We’re buying it for the land because it was on about an acre of land that was right in front of this amish family’s farm. Jean basically said, I’m going to go to the amish family and I’m going to offer to sell it to them for 35,000 dollars. So a small deal but within two months, we had sold that 5,000 dollar note which actually was an REO we found out once we closed on it.
Brian: We sold it for 35,000 dollars. My 50% profit was represented about a 247% return on that 5,000 dollars within two months.
Larry: That’s not bad, huh?
Brian: I love telling this story. It sounds great. I mean, we have had some losers where we’ve taken possession of the property, walked in and realized that the foundation shot, ended up just basically giving it away and losing a little bit of money. So it’s not all these big wins, but when they happen, they’re really nice.
Larry: That’s really cool. That’s really cool. So you’ve done self storage. You do defaulted notes which are the best way to buy notes if you’re going to buy them because you have the biggest band for your buck but it is a business. It is not just an investment. It’s a business. You’ve got to work it. You’ve got to do what’s called a work out, guys. So you’ve also done some multifamily. Tell us about some of that.
Brian: Yes, so multifamily. That’s been my bread and butter. I mean, I bought and sold over 450 units. All of the properties that I still own and there’s about 370 units. They’re all right here in Grand Rapids, Michigan or Wyoming, Michigan which is right next to Grand Rapids. Yes, we’ve got two large apartment complexes that we own here. I’ve got a lot of smaller multifamily, the 12 unit, 37 units, and 4 units, and so on. You know, it’s really about cycles and picking the right location to invest in. I’d like to say I knew the Grand Rapids was going to explode as much as it has when I started buying here in 2008, but the truth is, I just saw good prices and I saw good cash flow at that point so I picked up whatever I could. The fact that the market has done what it has done in the past 10 years, had a phenomenal impact on the rents that we’re able to charge and the values of the properties that we picked up.
Brian: So I am really happy with that. But I stopped buying in 2015. I think it’s a cyclical type of market and I probably stopped too soon because people are still out there making money buying multifamily, but I reached a point where I could no longer purchase for the type of cash flow that I needed or the types of returns that my investors expected.
Larry: That’s good. So you’re big roll, what you do, you’re unique ability is raising money, right?
Brian: That is primarily what my function is. I mean, I do think I bring some vision because I think in working with different strategic partners, and by the way, also when I got into multifamily and apartments and i decided to start buying apartments, I sought out a strategic partner there as well. This was a person who owned a property management company, knew how to manage the types of properties that I wanted to invest in. I think I bring, yes, I bring the ability to raise money and talk to investors and put and structure a deal in a way that investors can understand and be motivated to invest in, but I also bring some vision to the table. I have a creative background. I was in movie marketing for 20 years.
Brian: I think that anytime you start with a project, whether in investment or making a movie trailer, you have to have a vision for what that’s going to be and in investing in multifamily, notes, and self storage, again, we’re not just looking for whatever investment is out there. I am bringing a vision to the table and whatever opportunity we seize upon has to fit within that vision.
Larry: There you go. That’s good. You obviously were involved in marketing Titans.
Brian: Yes, you can see that behind me. I don’t know if it will show up when you squeeze the frame, but remember the Titans. If you ever saw, it’s a great movie. One of my favorites. I worked on the trailer for the movie. It’s one of my proudest accomplishments in the movie marketing business.
Larry: That’s awesome, man. I love it. I love it. You know, no matter what business you’re in. you’ve got to be good at marketing. Whether it’s real estate or making movies or whatever. You’ve got to be good at marketing. Marketing is the lifeblood that drowns everything, right?
Brian: Absolutely. Marketing. And you know, Larry, I know you’re a master in marketing so I am humbled to even talk about marketing with you.
Larry: Oh, thank you.
Brian: But I know that first hand. I think to me, marketing is being able to tell a story. What is the story. For buying an apartment complex, what is the story. Why are we buying it? How are we going to make money off of it. How much money are we going to make off of it.
Brian: You need to be able to tell that story very plainly and simply in a way that your uncle Joe can understand it. If you used too many words or you used too many industry words and too many ratios that people can’t understand, you’re going to lose them. So, to me, marketing is all about simplifying things so that people can understand what it is you’re talking about.
Larry: That’s so true. I’ve always said the facts tell, stories sell.
Brian: I’m going to use that if you don’t mind.
Larry: It’s a good one, right?
Brian: Yes, yes. By the way, I always back up the story with the facts.
Brian: What are the numbers.
Larry: Exactly, exactly.
Brian: You want to use the facts but the story is what gets people hooked in the first place.
Larry: That’s true. That’s true. So, how does a person go about finding a strategic partner. I mean, like you are a strategic partner. I mean, there’s people out there that I’ve got deal flow because you need two things to do real estate, deal flow and money. Right? There are some people out there that have an organization, their marketing, they’re getting deals coming in, they got deal flow but they need money. When you have money and you’re looking for people with deal flow, right?
Brian: Absolutely. You’re right. It’s either, it seems like it’s either/or, like you’ve got great deals in front of you and you can’t find the money to do them or you’ve got all the money which is the case for a lot of people right now. There’s a lot of money out there looking for good deals. So, how do you find that strategic partner? I mean, it’s all about networking. It’s all about going to, by the time this comes out, I will no longer be, I will be the past president of the Rental Properties Owners Association, but currently I am the president of the Rental Properties Owners Association in West Michigan and that’s a phenomenal networking place to go. You know, it’s not just the value you’ll get from being a member of a rental property owners organization, but it’s the value you get from the other people you meet there. I guarantee in these types of groups, there are always people with money who are looking for deals. You know, I think that going to events, you and I were just talking about Mastermind groups before this event, finding a good Mastermind group to be a part of, or pay-in to go to someone’s training, pay-in to go to your training and meeting the people who are there in the audience. I would imagine there’s always people there with money in your audience who are looking for the heavy hitters who have the deal flow that they can invest with.
Larry: It’s funny that you mentioned that because we did an event. It’s probably been six months now, where I had a guy from a self directed custodian coming in and talk about using your IRA. we gave everybody a piece of paper and we had them write on it, not their name, just how much they had in their retirement account, right? We collected it all up and added it up. It was something like 10 million dollars.
Brian: Oh, yes.
Larry: In the room. I couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t believe it. So there’s money everywhere and there’s anxious money because if money is sitting on the side lines, you’re not getting anything out of it, right?
Brian: No. If you have it in a savings account, you’re losing money.
Brian: You know the rising cost of living.
Larry: Exactly. That’s so true. That is so true. So that’s probably one of the reasons you started the podcast, was to get yourself out there and to find strategic partners and to raise money.
Brian: That’s been an excellent side benefit of a podcast. The networking I’ve done to people I’ve met, the great conversations I’ve had. I started the podcast because the RPOA wanted to have a podcast and I wasn’t the president at that time but they reached out to me and said, hey would you be interested in hosting our podcast and I love podcasts. I love listening to shows like yours, listening to experts talk about what they do. I jumped on the opportunity. So I first and foremost, you know, I don’t get paid to do the podcast. I make a little bit of money off the advertising that we have on it which is very little but I do it because I really enjoy it and after being in the movie marketing for 20 years, I like it as a creative outlet to be able to talk to people, have interesting conversations and do a little bit of editing as well.
Larry: That’s awesome. I love it. Guys, if you’re listening or watching, it’s Rental Property Owner Podcast, right?
Brian: It’s the Rental Property Owner and Real Estate Investor podcast but if you go to iTunes and you just search for rental property owner, it will be the first one at the top.
Larry: Awesome, awesome. That’s great. I love it. I love it. So, tell us a little bit about the investors that you work with because you do have investors that from time to time will invest in your projects and your strategic partnerships and your private placements, so tell us a little bit about that, you know, what kind of investors are you looking for and the qualifications.
Brian: Typically, we work with accredited investors and accredited we mean, you have a networth over a million dollars or in the past two years, you’ve made over 200,000 dollars in your job or with your spouse, that combined 300,000 a year.
Brian: That’s typically the investors that I work with and occasionally, we’ll allow sophisticated investors. It really depends. I do 506b syndications which means I can’t really advertise what I’ve got but I can tell you, like, I’ve done multifamily and apartments in the past. I have done self storage in the past. A lot of my investors started out as family and friends. I know a lot of people don’t like bringing family or friends into their investments but my take is, why not? Why would I deprive them of the opportunity to invest in something that I think is going to make a lot of money.
Brian: So I started there with family and friends and then once I got into raising larger amounts of money, you know, be it 1.3 million for one of our deals, 2.2 million for another deal, all in all, I’ve raised over 7 million dollars from private investors. Once I started doing that, you have to widen your scope. It does help to have a podcast. People get to know me through that. I haven’t really actively sought new investors in the past just because I’m very selective about the deals I do and about the people I work with, but you know, I try to keep it very simple. I try to be as responsive as possible to my investors so if they send me an email with a question, I answer it ASAP.
Larry: That’s awesome, man. I love that. I love that. That’s great. Like you said, there’s a lot of money sitting on the sidelines right now.
Brian: I guess. There’s a lot of money sitting on the sidelines. One of my goals is to have more deals where we can funnel some of that money into those deals.
Larry: That’s great. That’s great. I love it. Now, typically, you know, you’re not talking about, you’ve got hundreds of investors in each project, you may have and I don’t know, I’m guessing five to twenty investors in any given project I’m guessing.
Brian: Yes, I mean, the smallest amount I have in one of my syndications is three investors, not including myself so I guess four, and then the largest amount I have is 24 investors in one of my other deals.
Larry: Right, right. That makes sense. I am assuming you probably typically have somewhere around a 50 or 100 dollar minimum.
Brian: 50,000 minimum currently.
Larry: Yes, okay. That’s good. That is good. That is good.
Brian: I found that 50,000 is a good number because a lot of my existing investors, that’s what they’re comfortable with so I would not want to price them out of any of my opportunities and then investors who only have 25,000, they tend to take a little bit more of my time, so I feel like 50,000 is a good place to start.
Larry: Good. That sounds great. That sounds great. So, Brian, this has been really, really good stuff, really good information. How would somebody learn more about, you know, about you, about your organization, reach out to you if they have any questions, want to follow you, want to start listening to podcasts?
Brian: Yes, thanks. The podcast is the Rental Property Owner and Real Estate Investor Podcast. It’s very much like yours. I talk to experts in all different aspects of investment. There is no one niche of real estate that we focus on. It’s all different aspects. Larry, you’ve been a guest on there already, in both times, it was a great conversation. If you want to find out more about me, you can go to my website which is HIGInvestor.com. HIG is Hamrick Investment Group. I will spell that for you. It’s H-I-G-Investor, I-N-V-E-S-T-O-R dot com. You can email me at Brian@HIGInvestor. Brian B-R-I-A-N at HIGInvestor and I make myself available to people who want to reach out to me as possible. So yes, feel free to drop me a line.
Larry: That’s great, man. You really are. You really are accessible and I am on your website right now HIGInvestor.com. It’s got a wealth of information. A lot of good stuff. Linked right to the podcast and stuff right there so it’s really good stuff. Man, I really, really appreciate you being on. This has been awesome.
Brian: Yes, it’s always great talking with you, Larry. It’s a lot of fun to be on your show so thank you for inviting me.
Larry: That’s, man. I appreciate that. What kind of parting words would you give to an investor if they’ve got some money sitting on the sidelines, they’re not really sure what to do. They don’t really know where to go. What are some words of wisdom that they should probably look into or some due diligence or whatever they should do before just saying, yes, I am going to give this guy my money or I am going to invest with this person?
Brian: I’m glad you ask me that because before coming on the show, I was thinking okay, what parting wisdom do I want to give and I think that even though you and I both, I think have excellent podcast because we talk to experts and we have great conversations, a part of the problem with our podcast is it’s free and for a first time investor, and I’m talking to people out there who haven’t quite, they’re interested and they know they want to invest in real estate but they haven’t quite pulled the trigger, they’re hearing all types of different opportunities that they can go down. Different roads that they can go down.
Brian: It can be confusing and it can be paralyzing, so my advice for today is to treat your quest as a business and start investing in that business. You can listen to our podcast for free and we give lots of great time in, but start by buying a couple of books in an area that you think is interesting. Read those books. If you like what you read, find the guru out there or the trainer or the coach who is teaching that material and then pay to take their bootcamp, pay to take their coaching, because I’d think that buy actually putting out some money and investing more than you’re comfortable with and I don’t sell any training. I’m not here to sell anything, but I do see that the people who pay for the training and actually take it seriously and to their best with it are the ones who end up being the most successful so don’t think you can do it on your own. Don’t think you can just teach yourself by listening to free podcast. Pay to read a book. Pay to buy a book off of Amazon, pay to go to some of that training and start going down that road of learning from real people who are doing it for real.
Larry: Man, I am so glad to hear you say that because I’ve had so many people over the years, you know, well you can just get enough information online for free. You don’t need a coach or a mentor or a home study course or whatever. You know, I mean, look at my library, right? That’s just two of my four book cases, right? I still spend about 30 grand a year on my own education. I have been doing this for over 30 years. So, I am really glad that you said that. I mean, yes, I sell education, and coaching, and mentoring, but I am also a student as well. And it’s like Jim Rohn said, I heard Jim Rohn say this years ago, don’t be a follower, be a student. Learn a little bit from this one, a little bit from this one, a little from this one, and come to your own conclusions. So, thank you so much for sharing that. That was really good.
Brian: Yes, I know you’ve come to our RPOA annual conference.
Larry: Oh, yes.
Brian: You’ve been a featured speaker there. I know your training is top notch. We’ve had plenty of other speakers in other areas and niches in real estate investing who have top notch training, I’ve certainly spent a lot of money too, maybe not as much as you have but I found value in every dime that I have spent in learning in this industry.
Larry: Yes, if you get one idea that helps you close one more deal for your whole career, it was well worth it. And you know, I have been to RPOA multiple times as a speaker but when I go to those events, when I’m not speaking, I’m sitting in the room and a lot of times, I am the first one at the back table with my credit card out. You know? So I know the value of education.
Brian: Absolutely. Even though we’re out there doing it and making money, we’re both still investing in the training. Absolutely.
Larry: Exactly. Exactly. Man, I really appreciate it. This has been awesome. Thank you so much for being on. Guys, thank you so much for watching. Please share. Please give us some feedback. Please give us some comments. We really appreciate that. If I can help you, go to LarryGoins.com, be sure and check out HIGInvestor.com, make sure you get on Brian’s podcast to check him out and listen to it every week. He’s got a new one coming out. New guest speaker every week. With that, thank you guys so much. I really appreciate it. Thanks, Brian.
Brian: Thank you, Larry. It’s been a pleasure.
Larry: Awesome. Thanks a lot. Take care everybody.