Not everyone is cut out to be a multifamily investor. You have to have the right attitude toward the work. Ray Bova, Jr has the right attitude and today has a very successful multifamily business for himself. While he credits others who showed him the way, he is responsible for the success he has today. Here is what Ray shared with me about his success in the multifamily investment market.
The reason I got into property management was for supplemental income. I started out watching my father, and he had much success with it. He was the one who encouraged me to enter the field of multifamily investment. My father showed me a lot of troubleshooting solutions when maintenance issues arose. He “held my hand” as I was going through rental property “boot camp.” He also encouraged me to talk to Chris. He was my first mentor, and Chris was the one who helped me understand the business of multifamily investment. He gave me advice that helped me get to the place I am today. He was (and is) always available for me when I had questions. He offered guidance and suggestions. No matter how small or large the sale was the service was always the same. He’s been a great role model for me. Chris’ advice that a successful investment means keeping the properties in good condition, and investing into them is advice that has worked.
My strategy when I first started out was to survive. Getting rents in was important, but not always possible. You have to have a strong work ethic. I wanted people to know that I took care of the property, and I think the tenants and neighbors recognized that. I think the tenants took pride in the property because I did. Now 10 years later, I am in a position to be able to continue to improve upon my buildings and offer my tenants a great place to live.
In my observation the biggest change in the multifamily rental market is that there are more people leaving their homes and looking for rental places. Sometimes they seem to want what they had when they had their home life and that is not always possible in the rental market (i.e. dogs). People hope to have something included in the rent. Whether it’s a utility or special service. Over the years I’ve gotten better at being more understanding of people and their needs. It’s their home, but at the same time it’s my building. We need to work together on this. I always do my best to be there for them when they call, and in return I expect them to be there for me when rents are due!
The best advice I received about rental property and multifamily investment was the simple things. First, keep expenses down and rents up. Also, putting money back into the property helps you to be able to raise rents and encourages the tenant to take better care of the unit. People want to be proud of where they live, whether it is in an apartment or a house. Second is having a goal – where do you want to be in 1 year, 10 years, or 20 years? Do you want to own property closer to where you live? You have to think about what’s important to you. Third, there is a certain point where you can’t do everything yourself. You need to bring people on and delegate. Surround yourself with a good team. Make sure you have a trustworthy plumber, painter, electrician, accountant, realtor, etc. They will be your greatest assets. Also, remember that some tenants will gladly shovel, clean hallways or do yard work for a reduced rent.
What does the future hold? I think the rental market is still growing. Look at all of the new buildings going up. Many people still don’t want to be bothered maintaining property. Some people are not able to own a home due to their economic situation. The economy is driving a lot of people to the rental market. I see multifamily investment as very strong.