‘That’s just the way I’m built: Nothing’s going to stop me.’

Joseph Gozlan’s story defines the word GRIT. Once he decided that multi-family was the route he wanted to take, Joseph continued to drive through every challenge, getting creative and doing whatever it took to secure his first deal despite the roadblocks and frustrations. Three years later, he is the proud owner of two apartment buildings, and he has five properties in the pipeline. Joseph’s living expenses are covered, and he is considering a transition into full-time real estate in the very near future.

Joseph got his start in real estate back in 2005 when he and his new wife realized that their new five-bedroom home was too big for just the two of them, so they chose to stay in an apartment and rent the property. Two years later, they moved to the United States from Israel and recognized the opportunity provided by the market collapse. The Gozlans secured their real estate licenses and began actively hunting for deals, purchasing a duplex and several single-family homes.

In 2015, Joseph realized there was much more value in apartments than could be gained in scaling single-family homes, and he started extensive research into multi-family investment. Unfortunately, Joseph faced a number of hurdles along the way, and it took a full two years to secure his first 22-unit apartment complex. When many would-be multi-family investors would have given up, Joseph persevered, and today he shares his long road to successful apartment building investing with us. Listen in and get inspired as Joseph discusses why he chose real estate in the first place, the circumstances around his shift to multi-family, and how he has maintained his full-time job in IT while developing a lucrative real estate portfolio.

Key Takeaways

[1:59] Joseph’s start in real estate

  • Read Rich Dad, Poor Dad in college
  • Got married, lived in small apartment
  • Purchased house, too big for couple
  • Chose to rent house, stay in apartment
  • Moved to US in 2007
  • Joseph and wife got real estate licenses
  • Actively hunted for deals after market collapse
  • Bought duplex in Plano, TX (paid $180K, invested $30K in renovations)
  • Purchased additional single-family homes until numbers changed in 2013

[4:34] Why Joseph chose real estate in the first place

  • Wants to write giant cardboard check for $1M to children’s hospital
  • Early retirement, comfortable living, won’t have to answer to boss
  • Tangible assets like real estate trump stock market
  • Realized could be wealth-building strategy, key to financial freedom

[6:26] Joseph’s definition of financial freedom

  • Do what you want
  • Work from anywhere
  • No worry re: bills
  • Kids won’t experience struggle (like he did)

[7:22] The circumstances around Joseph’s shift to multi-family

  • Two and a half years ago, duplex had foundation issues
  • Big ticket damage to another property at same time
  • Spent $40K to fix, wiped out five years cashflow
  • Recognized advantages of multi-family (single location, risk spread across multiple units)
  • Began extensive research (books, podcasts, BiggerPockets)

[11:11] The long road to Joseph’s first deal

  • Reached out to brokers, no response
  • Decided to source deal himself, began marketing (postcards, letters, phone calls)
  • Built rapport with owner/custom-builder of 22-unit apartment
  • Owner agreed to seller financing
  • Refinanced duplex and another property to afford

[14:02] The results of Joseph’s first deal

  • 23 days from signed contract to keys
  • Brought in property management company
  • Added $600—$800K in value via operation efficiency
  • Spends one hour with management company/week to assure accountability

[15:58] How Joseph handled concurrently working full-time

  • Sacrifice necessary
  • Some sleepless nights
  • Spent weekends looking at property, took occasional days off
  • Difficult but doable

[16:53] How Joseph secured a second deal within six months

  • Brokers responsive now that ‘closer’
  • Lead through property management company on 102-unit in Lubbock, TX
  • Knew costs, rent and demographics (unfair advantage)
  • Tight underwriting, made win-win offer

[18:11] How Joseph financed his second deal

  • ‘Ignorance’ gave him the confidence to raise funds
  • Elected syndication to raise $1.4M
  • Had to adjust underwriting model
  • Learning curve around how to talk to investors
  • Learned to focus on benefits (no headache), returns, low risk
  • Did all himself in 45 stressful days
  • Once one investor signs, recommend friends

[22:31] How Joseph’s second deal is performing

  • Only three months in
  • Great so far, working on renovations
  • Compliments from competition, positive feedback from residents
  • Joseph’s living expenses now covered on paper
  • Anticipates feeling comfortable enough to quit job after second quarter

[24:33] How Joseph stuck with the multi-family plan despite his initial frustration

  • Went into contract on another property first
  • Realized much-deferred maintenance
  • Seller refused to negotiate
  • Had to back out since numbers didn’t work
  • Not in Joseph’s personality to give up

[26:30] The snowball effect of multi-family deals

  • Joseph already under contract on third deal for 28-unit
  • Only took three days to get LOI signed (motivated seller)
  • Five properties in pipeline now (off-market deals)

[28:17] Joseph’s plans for the future

  • Recently renewed real estate license
  • Sourcing deals himself (sent 1300 pieces of mail)
  • Continue to work acquisitions
  • Also transition to brokerage side
  • Enjoys ‘coaching’ property management company, contributing ideas to improve processes

[30:08] What Joseph would tell his younger self

  • Skip single-family, go straight to apartment buildings
  • Could have thousands of units by now

[30:51] Joseph’s advice for hesitant multi-family investors

  • Don’t go it alone
  • Partner or get mentor to establish realistic expectations
  • Offer value to mentor (i.e.: underwriting, boots on the ground)

Connect with Joseph Gozlan

EBG Acquisitions

Eureka Business Group on Twitter

Multifamily Investing for Financial Freedom on Facebook

Resources

Rich Dad, Poor Dad: What the Rich Teach Their Kids About Money That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not! by Robert T. Kiyosaki

BiggerPockets

Michael’s Products

Free eBook: The Secret to Raising Money to Buy Your First Apartment Building

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