Over the years, the multifamily investing community has gotten much broader, which means your network should be expanding too. Thriving in this community is all about building relationships with professionals who can relate to your experiences as a multifamily investor, and can give you help where you need it. Holly Fagan is a multifamily investor based in Jersey City, New Jersey. Joining Lisa Hylton, she reveals her secrets to building a strong and tight network within the multifamily investing community from which you can source both support and advice. They say every journey starts somewhere, and in multifamily investing, it’s all about the network you build and the community you share your experiences with.
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The Wide Network Of Multifamily Investing With Holly Fagan
I have an amazing guest on the show. Her name is Holly Fagan. Holly is a badass real estate female investor. She’s based in Jersey City, New Jersey. Her journey started with purchasing her own place at the age of 26, followed by a condo to kickstart a passive income portfolio. After wanting more, she attended a local real estate event for the first time and became familiar with the ins and outs of the business. Shortly after, she started her own company called Peace of Mind Property. After two years of starting her own business, she owns smaller multifamilies and manages her fix and flips locally. She is scaling her business to the next level by investing in larger multifamily apartments as an acquisition partner on syndication deals and underwriting for high-level operators that manage over 300 million in assets across 5,000 doors.
She is also the New Jersey Chapter Leader of the Multifamily Masters Meetup Group and still holds her W-2 jobs with over ten years of experience in the market research field. Holly has been actively moving forward as one of the rare females to do business in the real estate world. I’m happy to have Holly on the show. I met Holly at the Multifamily Women’s Mastermind breakfast here in Los Angeles when Rod Khleif had his event. Through that, I was able to network and hear her amazing story. Without further ado, Holly, I’m happy to have you on the show.
Thank you, Lisa. I’m happy to be here and share my story.
Can you share a little bit more about how you got started?
I was always interested in real estate. I had purchased the place that I live in still, several years ago. I was always in the mindset of wanting more and getting to the next level. I always wanted passive income, different streams of income. I started by purchasing my first rental, which was a condo. That was about three years after that. My father passed away and that was in March 2018. There’s a random chain of events after that. I got a flyer in the mail shortly after that and it was, “Come to this real estate seminar, learn how to fix and flip. It’s a free seminar.” It happened to be on my father’s birthday, which was on May 17.Always be in the mindset of wanting more, of wanting to get to the next level. Click To Tweet
I decided to go. They told me about hard money and how everybody fixes and flips in high volumes. I got interested in it. I signed up for the education. From there, I learned a lot of things. I finished the education course in June. I had to go to LA for my W-2 job after that. When I travel, I like to see the area a little bit if I can. I was at a Japanese tea garden because that’s what you do in LA. I ordered some food then I had a fortune cookie. I opened it up and it said, “You will do better in real estate than in stocks.” It didn’t say, “Love your neighbor. It’s a good fortune.” I have it framed on my desk. That’s when I started my company, Peace of Mind Property.
Something that you touched on in your bio is the way you play in real estate. You’ve done smaller multifamilies and you manage to fix and flips locally. Are you still active in those kinds of projects?
Yes, I do have a flip going on. I still have duplexes as rentals, but I’m getting away from that. I am looking to scale my business. I don’t want to be the owner of a million duplexes. Syndication is more economies of scale and the tax benefits and all that. I’m part of an acquisitions team, a cold call. I’m looking to get into the syndication space with 200 to 300 units. That scares people, but it’s doable and that’s where I’m going in terms of my next steps in my business.
One of your goals is to work as an acquisition partner on syndication deals. For our audience, what does that exactly mean? Could you break it down into what that role entails?
On an acquisitions team, you’re most likely going to be the person that’s cold calling. It’s not glamorous, but it’s something if you’re good at creating relationships. You’re talking to owners. You’re talking to brokers. If you’re cold calling in whatever area, Atlanta, Texas, you could even fly down there, have three different lunches set up to meet with brokers. You with the broker create a relationship, you talk to them and you’re like, “You drive a car, I drive a car.” You create all these relationships with people. On the other side of that, you’re also talking to owners as well. That’s basically an acquisitions position.
I also do a little bit of preliminary underwriting, so that can be a piece of the job there for an acquisition. You can be involved in due diligence. If you want to check out a property that you’re interested in putting in an offer, you could fly down to the property or go to the property or whatever the case might be if it’s in your area or not. You can take a look at the property, do the drive by, check what’s wrong, look at the roof of the property. It’s a position in a nutshell and you can figure out as you go along depending on how involved you are, your location, and things like that. Mainly, it’s the cold calling piece, which you have to have tough skin.
I was going to ask the characteristics of a person that would be the best fit for that role.
Someone that loves networking and likes talking to people. You have to have tough skin because you’re going to get a lot of noes. At the end of the day, the law of averages. The more you get, the closer you are to your yes. Be the person that gets down a nail and you have to keep moving, keep pushing forward and you’ll get there. Don’t quit.
You do high-level underwriting for operators that manage over 300 million assets across 5,000 doors. When you’re out there having relationships or meeting owners and stuff like that, you are doing that underwriting at a high level. What does that entail?
With underwriting, there’s a ton of analyzers that are out there for syndication deals. Once you create that rapport with an owner or broker and you have a deal come across your desk, you’ll get the T12 or Trailing Twelve, mostly with rent roll. You’re taking those numbers and you’re putting them into an analyzer. You’re putting all the expenses, the rent and whatever the case might be that you have. You’re looking at the numbers to see if they make sense. You’re playing detective, for the most part. You don’t have to love math. Being an underwriter, you have to get things conceptually make sure it does look right. If you have 80% expenses, that’s a red flag. We look at something that should have 50% expenses. You’re playing detective and trying to find what’s wrong and things that don’t look correct and make sure the numbers add up.You have to have a tough skin in the real estate business because you're going to get a lot of people saying no. Click To Tweet
One of the other things that you do in this space is you are the chapter leader of the Multifamily Masters Meetup Group in the New Jersey area. Can you talk about what made you decide to be a chapter leader?
I wanted to get myself out there more. I thought it was a great way for me to be in front of people and present and share knowledge. I’m naturally an introvert and the thought of going in front of people and presenting, I didn’t think I liked it, but I put myself out there and do helping people and presenting. I do a 30-minute presentation. We have networking as well. I decided to do that to branch out, get out of my shell, create as many connections as I can, and it’s a good way for me to do what I like. I like teaching and helping people in any way that I can.
Do you have other co-leaders on your team for this particular Multifamily Meetup or is it only you?
I’m the only lead. I do everything from start to finish. I create the presentations and everything, but the management piece of it as we’re growing. It’s great. We have 41 people on our third Meetup. It’s getting larger and it’s great because I have people asking to sponsor and will bring food and stuff. I am having a cohost to help with things because it makes it more manageable. You do need somebody else to cohost with you to run things off of and get things done logistically.
I know you touched on some of the benefits in terms of meeting people. Any other benefits that you’ve personally seen that you’d want to bring out to why you think it’s important to host a Meetup or even go to Meetups?
Networking is everything. From building my own business, between lawyers, accountants, partnering with people, and people I’m working with, it’s all from networking. It is from going to these events, even the local events. Even Meetup.com, but’s that’s a dating service. We have all these real estate events that are local. I started going to all these Meetups. People in this space are more than willing to help if you have a conversation with them. Going to Meetups and getting yourself out there, puts you in a position when you eventually want to host a Meetup. It puts you in the position like you’re the expert and you’re there telling people things that they don’t know and you’re helping them along the way. It’s a great outlet for anyone that wants to get into real estate and make the right connections.
These are the level up round questions specifically. The first one is, what are you grateful for in your life at the moment?
There are a lot of things I’m grateful for, my friends and my supportive family. I wanted to do it a little geared towards real estate. I’m grateful to have the opportunity to be surrounded by people who truly want to help and give back because that gives me the mindset and something to look up to do myself. I would love to educate people and give back. By no means, I’m an expert at all. Along the way, I’m grateful to have the right mindset and people around me to enable me to do that.
What are the key lesson or lessons that you’ve learned in your real estate journey so far?The more no you get, the closer you are to your yes. Click To Tweet
I think in general, keep going. At first, people don’t start as they’ll go to Meetups and they’ll come home. They don’t do anything with what they’ve learned. They don’t follow people to give you a business card. I can’t tell you how many times I have a business card, but nobody follows up. It sounds cliché, but the key is follow-up. You have to follow-up with people. Get yourself out there because that was a big thing that I learned. I knew I needed to get myself out there and break out of a shell, go to networking events and get over that hurdle to say, “I can do this.” Do things you’re uncomfortable with.
What do you believe is key to your continued success and growth?
It’s surrounding myself with people that are like-minded and with the same mindset because you have to cut the negativity out. If you don’t have people around you supporting you, you’re going to fall into a black hole. Be surrounded by people, especially at these conferences where I met you too. There was a whole bunch of women there. That was only a portion of the conference. I have three different groups there. Part of my acquisition team was there, Multifamily Masters Chapter Leaders, where I’ve got to connect with many people. When you leave, you were motivated by energy like, “Go to these conferences. Be surrounded by positive people with positive energy.”
Lastly, advice you’d give for real estate investors interested in getting started.
I sound like a broken record, networking. Go to your local events and literally find a partner. Find somebody that has more experience than you and figure out what you’re good at. Find your skillset, what you’re good at and see how you can bring value to somebody else. If somebody sees that in you that you have fire and the hustle and somebody sees that has experienced that, they’ll be more than willing to help you and work with you along the way. Find somebody that’s experienced, partner with them, learn the game, and then eventually, you have somebody there to fall back on when you start syndicating yourself.
Expanding on that a bit, what would you say is the superpower that you bring to your teams?
I think for me, it’s motivation. I’m an optimist. I feel like I’m somebody that is a problem solver. If I hit a roadblock, I’m not the person to be like, “Okay.” I sit there and I try and figure it out. I always feel like there’s an answer to everything and it’s nice to get creative. That’s where I fit in best in terms of problem-solving, keep going, have that hustle, and motivating energy type.
How did you find your path to being a part of the acquisitions team? How did that create and evolve?
It is still networking. I went to another networking conference. Rod Khleif has been the one conference that I’ve been to that I’ve connected with a bunch of great people. It’s not that they are not great people at the other conferences, but these people I clicked with. You start to build relationships. When you go to these conferences, it is like you’re hanging out with your friends. It’s from a business perspective. I got to know the people that I’m working with on a personal level. I also did more of a Mastermind and that’s what made the difference. I went to an event that has secret X. It was a mastermind that I had gone to. It was great because it’s not a conference, where you’re talking to people exchanging business cards and then you’re like, “Bye.” You only talk to them for five minutes and truly get to know people on a personal level. You understand personalities, you see who you can click with, who you can easily work with, and that’s what made the difference. It’s getting to know people and then knowing you can work with them and creating these relationships.
You mentioned that you’re scaling your business. For people interested in scaling and growing their business, what advice would you give to them given your experience doing that?
I went to networking, like conferences and things like that. Do that. Find someone with experience and scale your business. Understand what you’re good at. If you love Excel, you like the underwriting, go on LoopNet.com and pull down a deal and underwrite it. Do your practice. Practice what you’re good at and then eventually, you’re going to master it.
If our audience would like to learn more about you or get in touch with you and come out to your Meetup there in New Jersey, can you share with our audience the best ways that they can get in touch with you?
You can find me on Facebook, Holly Fagan. I’m also on Instagram @Holly_PeaceofMindProperty. If you’re in the area and you want to come, you definitely should come to our Meetup. It’s Meetup.com/multifamilymastersnj. If you join the group, you automatically get all the updates. My main website is POMProperty.com. You can find there all the links I said.
Thank you, Holly, for coming on. I appreciate it.
Thank you for having me.
That was another amazing show. Thank you, Holly Fagan, for coming on. I appreciate it. There are great nuggets for people, in terms of getting started. Some of my insights from this show with Holly was that as you think about getting started in real estate, some of the things to keep in mind is the importance of building relationships and getting to know people. Part of that process, Holly talks about she being an introvert by nature but getting out there and meeting people and doing different things, as much as even hosting a Meetup, like an introvert hosting a Meetup. That’s amazing. Going out there and putting herself out there has enabled her to meet people. She spoke about how she’s grateful for the opportunities that have come into her life from going out there, meeting people, networking, and building those relationships. It is super important.
A couple of other things she noted is the importance of you recognizing what your superpower is. What it is that you bring to the table that you’re good at. She mentioned how important it is to practice what you like doing so you can get good at it and you can add value to other people and other teams and being an integral part of the team at which you are a part of. She spoke about scaling her business, as well as advice on scaling businesses in general. The key that I found in this particular episode was the importance of getting out there and networking and building relationships. If you’ve read the blog for a couple of different episodes, it’s been pretty clear that building relationships is important in real estate and in business in general.
Getting out there, meeting people, going to conferences, the way I met her is by going to that Multifamily Women’s Mastermind breakfast. I didn’t go to Rod Khleif’s full conference, but I heard that that breakfast was going on and I said, “It’s close to where I live. Let me check it out.” That’s how I met her. It’s important to get out there and meet people, build those relationships. Know what it is that you want to do that you’re good at and practice it and get better at it, then connect with people. That is the essence of this particular interview. I hope you guys got some good nuggets from another amazing interview with a badass female investor. If you want to get in touch with her or to come out to her Meetup in New Jersey, you definitely can. Until next time, keep leveling up. Take care.
- Peace of Mind Property
- Multifamily Masters Meetup Group
- Multifamily Women’s Mastermind
- Holly Fagan – Facebook
- @Holly_PeaceofMindProperty – Instagram
About Holly Fagan
Holly Fagan is an investor based in Jersey City, New Jersey. Her journey started with purchasing her own place at the age of 26, followed by a condo to kickstart a passive income portfolio. After wanting more, she attended a local real estate event for the first time and became more familiar with the “ins and outs” of the business, and shortly after started her own company called Peace of Mind Property.
After only two years of starting her own business, she now owns smaller multifamily and manages fix and flips locally. She is currently scaling her business to the next level, by investing in larger multifamily apartment buildings as an acquisitions partner on syndication deals, and underwriting for high-level operators that manage over $300M in assets across 5000+ doors.
She is also the NJ chapter leader for the Multifamily Masters meetup group and still holds her W-2 job with over 10 years’ experience in the market research field. Holly has been actively moving forward as one of the rare females to do business in the real estate world.