Is real estate really what you want to be doing for the rest of your life? Do you want to be able to break away from the chains of your corporate job and live life in your own terms? If you do, you absolutely have to heed what Lisa Hylton’s guest in this episode has to say. After 20 years as a Wall Street corporate lawyer, Clive Davis finally made the break from his corporate past to focus on real estate big time. Not that he was a latecomer, though. Since late the 1990s, Clive has had tons of experience in real estate and currently holds a gigantic rap sheet of different asset classes all over the country. What advice does he have to give to other investors out there who want to be able to risk away their corporate safety nets and get into real estate full time? Don’t miss Clive’s incredibly valuable insights.
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Breaking Free From Corporate Chains With Real Estate With Clive Davis
I am excited to bring to you another amazing guest, his name is Clive Davis. Clive holds a Juris Doctorate degree from the Columbia University School of Law and was admitted to practice in the state of New Jersey, New York, as well as the Court of International Trade. He also holds a Master’s from SUNY in Albany and a BA with high honors from Rutgers University. He spent years as a corporate transactional lawyer in banking, real estate, M&A, and securities with a global Wall Street law firm headquartered in New York, with assignments in Menlo Park, California, Hong Kong, and China. He spent six years in in-house counsel experience with global pharmaceutical companies headquartered in New York and nine years in Atlanta as a Chief Compliance Officer for a Belgian biopharmaceutical company.
He has had tons of experience investing in real estate. He has a gigantic rap sheet in terms of all the different types of asset classes from single-family homes, to small multifamily, to large multifamily properties. We are going to get into how he got started in real estate. Clive is also a fellow Jamaican. He’s from the Caribbean. For those of you who do not know, I am from the Caribbean. It’s always great to bring guests on the show that have also Caribbean heritage and who are doing amazing things in the real estate space. Without further ado, welcome to the show, Clive.
Thank you, Lisa. I appreciate the invite. I’m happy to be here.
How did you start investing in real estate?
My first foray into real estate was the first home that I purchased. I did that right after getting out of law school. This is going back to 1997. I purchased my first home in Long Island City, New York, which if you don’t know is on the East river overlooking the United Nations. If you’re on the Queens side on the Long Island City side, you’re looking and facing the United Nations. I was able to do that right out of law school with a little bit of creative financing and also leveraging some unused student loan eligibility that I still had. Supplementing that, I was able to acquire this property which, at the time, was part of a waterfront development on New York City where they were converted to light industry. It was a development that had supposed to have taken place years earlier but has been delayed. They were marketing it to people who wanted to be pioneers and make the investment in property and home right there on the waterfront.
Fast forward to where we are, there are probably eighteen buildings lying in the waterfront there. It’s a fully developed area of the city with 6,000 to 7,000 residents. When I purchased there, it was the first building with 522 units to be occupied. That was my first real estate investment. At the time, it was my home. I still own it. Long after moving out in 2001, I continued to hold that as a rental and see it appreciate over time. You may recall that Amazon was trying to set up its headquarters in New York City. The whole transaction got aborted but the site where they were going to place their second headquarters was adjacent to the building in which I purchased my first property. I’m giving you a lot there. That was my first foray into real estate where I put my money down into a property and then later went on to hold it as an investment property.
You still own that property now?
Absolutely, I don’t plan on selling it.If you want to pursue real estate, take risks while you are young and those risks will pay you off big time. Click To Tweet
I don’t blame you. What were some of the early lessons, if any, that you learned from maybe that experience or maybe some of your other earlier experiences in real estate?
Whatever market that you’re in, there are always going to be opportunities for you to take a risk and perhaps be efficient when you’re young. Be a little bit more aggressive than where I am in life. Fast forward 30 years. There are opportunities that you’ve got to be able to willing to put yourself out there and take on perhaps a little bit more risk than you will be willing to take later in life when you have lots of responsibilities, bills, children, and things of that nature. If you could get into this game as a young person, right out of school, fresh out of school, and pursue real estate, there are many different lanes that you can take to do that. Whatever lane it is that you feel is most appropriate for you and that you’re most comfortable in, take risks and those risks can pay off big time.
For you, when you think about the different investments that you decided to take on after you made your first New York investment, were there any decisions that as a result of taking on those investments? When you bought your first property, what is about that experience that encouraged you to then ultimately buy again? What was it that you saw or experienced that made you want to continue investing?
What I saw early on was a robust equity build. When you’re a pioneer and you buy into a new build construction in an up and coming area that people are betting on is going to be the next place, you get to see rapid price appreciation. Even as I was moving in, I could see the value of my property increasing because that same floor plan was being sold by the sponsor at an increasingly higher amount over time. The way they usually do it is, let’s say that they come in and initially it’s $100,000. They see that they get a lot of buyers at $100,000 and they say, “Let’s push the envelope a little. Let’s see if we can get $110,000 and maybe $115,000, $120,000.” You can get to see, in the offering plan and in the public shelves data, what your floor plan is selling for. I had an opportunity to see that over the course of years and that’s something I still look at. I can go back to when I purchased and I can see all of the sales purchases for last year and prior years. It’s high risk but also high reward potential.
Some of your subsequent investments were you then bought a duplex in Cape Coral, Florida. You ultimately later then bought a five-unit also in Cape Coral, Florida. Can you talk a little bit about your decision to make those investments, how you went about deciding to buy them? It sounded like maybe at the time you were living in New York or maybe you weren’t because you bought your first property ’97. ‘99 is when you bought the Cape Coral property.
The first two real estate investment that I wasn’t living in was that duplex that I bought in 1999. I sold that in 2018. It’s definitely a long-term hold. I bought that in Cape Coral, Florida. For those who don’t know, it’s in Southwest Florida. It’s two hours northwest of Miami if you’re driving along the coast there on 75. The reason that I purchased that duplex, my parents from New Jersey, they had retired to Cape Coral in 1996. They had acquired some land in 1986, ten years earlier, as it’s common. They purchased some land and paid it off over time and then eventually they said, “It’s time to retire.” They built the home in 1996. They then went to Cape Coral, Florida and settled into retirement. That’s my initial connection to Cape Coral.
To me, although my parents aren’t highly educated, one of the things that I’ve seen and watched them do early on is to buy single-family homes. That’s something I’ve always known. That’s got to be part of your ambition, you got to own your own home. If you can do better than that, you buy 1 or 2 more homes that are within your reach. That’s something that I saw them do. It was natural for me to say, “I’ve got some disposable funds. I got some disposable money. Where can I put that to use?” For me, I said, “Duplexes are prevalent in the area of Cape Coral and in Florida. Why don’t I go buy a duplex and get some rental income coming in?” I was able to divert that rental income into an account that I added my parents’ name to. That was my way of supplementing their retirement and get income coming in.
At one point, I had a family member living on one side who relocated to Cape Coral. I was able to put him on one side and continue to rent the others, charging rent for both. A friendly rent for a family member, but nonetheless, we got income coming in. That was an opportunity for me to get into that first real estate investment where I am not living there. I happen to be living in New York at the time, but managing it from out of state with some family members nearby in case of any emergencies. By and large, I was managing them from New York.
From there, a few years later, you decided to buy your first five-unit. This one was in Cape Coral. For the readers, once people decide to play over four-units, they’ve entered into the commercial financing space, the commercial residential space as well. Can you talk about what that experience was for you and the lessons you learned? You’ve also sold that, too. If you could talk about that experience, that would be great.
In the distinction that you point out about commercial and residential, it’s a key distinction for people to be aware of. When you’re talking about 1 to 4 units, you’re in the world of residential real estate. Once you get close to that fifth unit and above, you’re talking commercial real estate. The importance of that is the financing that is associated with those two different types of real estate. I joke with folks that when I left Corporate America after twenty years, I decided I’m going to step away and do other things, real estate being one of the principal things. It’s easier for me to qualify for buildings or commercial buildings that are five units or above than it is for me to qualify for a single-family residence because I no longer have a W-2.
Banks are formulaic. When you go to them for a loan, one of the first things that they’re robotically going to ask you for is evidence of your W-2 income. For whatever reason, if you don’t have that, that somewhat does not compute for them because their model is for you to tell them, “Who are you working for and how much is that company, entity or employer paying you?” When you don’t have that, you have to figure out ways around that. Whereas commercial properties, five units and above, it’s easier. I can go buy a 100-unit building and it would be easier for me to qualify for that because the bank is looking at me secondarily.
Primarily, they’re focused in on the asset on the property and its ability to kick off income. Once they’ve determined that the property is able to kick off a certain amount of income to satisfy the debt and plus some, usually that’s plus 25%, 30%, or 35%. Once they determine that, then they look at you secondarily and say, “What type of person is this person?” They may look at your credit score. They may look and see if you’ve had a bankruptcy or anything negative in your background. Assuming you don’t have any of those things, you’re going to qualify based on the strength of the property and on the strength of the asset, not based on your personal income. That’s an important distinction.
For this one, you then held it for about 3 or 4 years and then sold that particular investment, the five-unit.
For me, in stepping away from corporate life, I knew that I wanted to do real estate. Before I jumped into it in what I consider a bigger way, at a bigger scale, I purchased the five-unit as a proof of concept. It’s something that I was going to be managing from out of state. At that time, I managed it from my home in Atlanta. I wanted to acquire something that would give me an opportunity to be a hands-on landlord and do all of the things associated with buying a value-add property, going in renovating a unit, turning over a tenant, and evicting as I have to do in that case. All of the things where you got to roll up your sleeves and be involved and execute a business model. I was able to do that. I was able to force appreciate the property. I sold that property in the midst of COVID. I’ve had come into the quarter saying that I wanted to get a large scale of multifamily under property.
I had an offering on a property at 200 plus units. I submitted an offer the next day the Corona was declared a global pandemic and all hell broke loose and loan proceeds started to change. No one knew what was happening with collection. In any event, in the midst of all of that, I did somewhat of a pivot and decided that if this would be a good time to exit the five-unit property and move into a position of cash and enable myself to be sitting on cash to support the largest scale multifamily thing that I want to do. That’s what I was able to do. I ended up selling that property to a 1031 buyer, all cash. We closed and we were able to do that in the midst of COVID-19.
How long did it take for that buyer to find you?When you commit to real estate with nothing else to fall back upon, you live and die based upon your own activity, initiative and efforts. Click To Tweet
Within less than a week of putting that property on the market. We had 2 or 3 potential buyers, one of which was what I would consider to be a serious buyer and they proved to be that. The financing came in and we were able to compress the timeline and close in less than 30 days.
Let’s flow into how you play in real estate. You touched a little bit about it. How do you play in real estate?
Most of my activity has been passive investments and what I consider to be institutional level sponsors who are seeking equity investments in their projects and their development. I have invested and created a diversified portfolio, primarily multifamily lien in but also inclusive of investments in ground-up development of multifamily as well as stabilized multifamily. I’ve also invested in a portfolio of hotels here in Atlanta. I’ve invested in a portfolio by Marriott, which is having a tough time as all of hospitality given what’s going on with COVID, but solid operator and solid sponsor. In addition to those, I’ve also invested in one real estate fund that invests primarily in Manhattan real estate properties that they acquire and pre-leased to corporate tenants with long-term leases. That’s the fund that I found and have invested in. It’s geographically dispersed across the country from Californaia, New York, Texas, Florida, as well as Georgia, which is where I call home.
To dive into this a little bit more, as someone reading, as they learn about all the different types of investments and how you’ve diversified your portfolio, the first question that they’re probably asking is, how did you go about doing it? Explain it in a way to provide a path for someone else who might be interested in following these footsteps.
Everything that I’ve done is within reach of the average investor who’s out there. One of the tools or things that I chose to lever with a self-directed IRA, I set up a self-directed IRA years ago and decided that I was going to move my money out of the stock market. I had rollover retirement funds that I was eligible to keep where they were or roll them into a regular IRA or move them into a self-directed IRA. I knew that I wanted to make more of a commitment to commercial real estate, I liked the idea of being able to self-direct and self-direct my investments. I’m not just having the option of a mutual fund bond and stuff, but being able to invest in real estate as well as other things beyond real estate. I’ve chosen to principally focus on real estate.
I moved almost the entirety of what were 401(k) stock funds into my self-directed IRA. That put me in a position where I could then go about making strategic investments, making sure that I was diversified not just in one geography and one asset class, but essentially create my own fund or portfolio. I focused on commercial real estate. One of the things that your readers should be aware of is the possibility that if they have left a job at any point in their career and they have retirement funds that either they’ve kept with their former employer or they’ve moved into a regular IRA, they have the possibility of moving those funds into a self-directed IRA. They can also look into a Solo 401(k), which is another alternative. It gives them the freedom to direct their own investments into things that they believe in. That’s what I chose to take advantage of.
I’ve steadily been deploying those funds over a 2 to 3-year period in investments and asset classes that I believe in. Not only is that a place that I’ve committed to on the active side that I’m transitioning into, but first, for me, it was important to do that not only for the potential return on investment. Frankly, when you’re investing the retirement, the self-directed funds, cashflow isn’t your principal consideration. Any cash or any profits that are earned are going to go back into that self-directed IRA until you’re eligible from a retirement age standpoint to access those funds. Like a 401(k), you’re not going to get access to those funds until you are retired and can start taking collections, start taking disbursements from the funds. For me, long-term appreciation as well as cashflow is important. I’m not looking for that cashflow to support my day-to-day living.
When you were looking at moving into your retirement funds, was there a reason why you chose a self-directed over a Solo 401(k)?
I’d like to say that I did thorough research and made that decision. At that point in time, I was not familiar with Solo 401(k). I didn’t necessarily know about that. I had learned and been educated about self-directed IRAs. It served the purpose at that point in time. That’s what I ended up putting my funds into. Also, there are eligibility to the Solo 401(k). At one point in time, you may fall out of eligibility. There’s a little bit more involved there that you need to be aware of and there’s tons of education out there that you can do to learn more about that. For me, at the time, the self-directed IRA was a step up from leaving the fund dormant in a standard traditional IRA fund.
How did you go about meeting the sponsors? Across your portfolio, I see ten, fifteen different types of investments that you’ve been invested in across the country, different asset classes, etc. How did you go about meeting the different sponsors to then get introduced to these different opportunities?
It’s a mix. Most of those deals I invested through a crowdfunding opportunity. There are many platforms out there and the one that I happen to invest through is CrowdStreet. I’m not a paid endorser for them. You can go to CrowdStreet.com to do your research and check them out. It’s a marketplace of opportunities that you can go. The only requirement is that you need to qualify as an accredited investor. If you know, Lisa, an accredited investor is someone who qualifies by 1 of 2 ways. Either they have made $200,000 a year for the prior two years with a reasonable expectation of making that same amount in the current year or they have a net worth of $1 million or more, excluding their personal residence or excluding the equity in their personal residence. If you qualify through one of those two ways, then you are eligible to invest in these institutional level type opportunities. That’s the path that I chose.
In terms of the sponsors, these are in much the same way that I would not meet the CEOs of any of the companies, the Apples, the Amazons, the Jeff Bezos’. When you invest in those stocks, you’re not going to meet anyone from those companies. You’re going to make a determination primarily based upon the strength of the company, the analysts that are following it, the research reports, and what have you. In this phase, when you’re talking about real estate and commercial real estate, to me, I’m looking primarily at the opportunity, the asset and its prospects for a promised return. You’re then assessing what’s the track record of the sponsor. When you’re dealing with institutional sponsors, usually you’re going to have a robust track record where you can see what they’ve done over 5, 10, 15, 20 years. While that’s no guarantee of success on any one investment, it does give you an indication as to the sophistication and the credibility of the sponsor.
Many of the investments that I’ve made have been sponsor unmet, if you will. At the same time, you have a dual vetting process. You have the crowdfunding platform, in this case, CrowdStreet, who’s doing their own vetting of the sponsor before they will even allow them to put their opportunity on their platform. That’s one level of vetting. The more confidence that you have in the crowdfunding platform that they are doing their job and that they have invested interest in only bringing quality sponsors on to their platform. If they don’t do that, that’s going to turn people away. They have invested interest in making sure that they’re doing a solid vetting job.
On top of that, once you look at the individual opportunity, you can have your own criteria as to what you want to invest in. For me, it’s part of my geographic diversity. There are certain cities that I believe you can bet on the city and opportunities within those cities are going to do well. I have, for example, a ground-up development of a 231 micro-unit development in San Francisco. Anyone that knows anything about San Francisco knows that affordable housing in San Francisco, those two words don’t go together because it’s too far between.
I had the opportunity to invest in a private development opportunity to build these micro-units. It’s new and novel for me. These are residences that average about 260 square feet and then there’s shared living space. Your dedicated space is less than 300 square feet. That’s the type of opportunity that I was able to invest in. Part of my calculation is there going to be demand for this product in San Francisco? The answer is definitely 100%. That’s more of a long-term investment. That one is a ten-year hold forecasted. Back with the retirement theme, not needing access to those funds anytime soon, it’s like, “What’s my return going to be in ten years? How does that line up with where I’ll be in terms of my retirement plan?”Go where your talents take you. Don't be defined by how much of this career or that industry can pay you. Click To Tweet
You are also interested in playing actively in the real estate space in the role of a syndicator yourself. What role do you generally play as you navigate towards that active investor space? What is your focus?
My goal was to have a large scale multifamily under contract. I have a few markets of interest, but my primary target market of focus is Atlanta, the Atlanta MSA and some of the select markets within Georgia. The goal is for me to be the boots on the ground asset manager for a property that I have a source or I have learned of that I’ve underwritten, that I have done the analysis on, that I’ve done a complete and robust underwriting on. I then partner with someone who has a more established track record in the large-scale multifamily space and then offer that opportunity to friends, family, and others who might be interested in investing in that type of an opportunity. That’s the next step for me. I’ve been actively looking for properties that fit that description.
As you know, Lisa, it’s also true in some of the markets that you’re interested in, it has been competitive in terms of the amount of capital on the sidelines that go in these opportunities, the typical value-add opportunities where you go in and you make the asset look prettier. You invest some capital expenditure or money into interior renovations. Maybe you’re going to put $5,000 a unit in and you’re going to change out the floor. You’re going to change out the counters, the cabinets, the fixtures. Maybe you’re going to do some green program investment in toilets, showerheads, and things of that nature. With improved management, you’re going to bump rents accordingly consistent with what’s available within the marketplace.
You’re looking for properties that haven’t been maximized, that the owner and operator haven’t necessarily maximized the value for whatever reason either they don’t have additional funds to make the improvements that they would need to push rents to where the market would support higher rents. That’s where I am. I’m actively pursuing properties. I’ve put my pencil down for the month of April and May given what’s going on with COVID and a limited inventory that’s been coming to market. I’m returning to underwriting deals. Soon we’ll be able to go back out and be touring properties, driving properties, meeting with brokers, and things of that nature. That’s the destination for me.
That brings me to my next question, which is the impact COVID has had on your business aspirations and goals and you touched on it. By putting your pencil down, was that a reflection of the uncertainty surrounding the marketplace? Was it a reflection of something else that maybe I’m not thinking about perhaps?
You hit the nail on the head. I had submitted an offer on a property, moving full speed ahead on that property to the point that I made about competition. There were 32 groups who were pursuing that property. There were eight groups that were determined to be serious buyers. They were considering for best and final consideration. Fortunately, we were among those eight. However, in the space of a week, we saw hell broke loose. Loan proceeds were shifting. You couldn’t rely on a term sheet that you would receive a week earlier.
With loan proceeds being reduced, that means you’ve got to raise more money upfront, which means that your cash-on-cash return projections are changing and the deal isn’t looking as attractive because the loan to value ratio is shifting. On top of that, with all of the shutdowns that were starting to take place or had already been implemented, the big question was, people are losing jobs, what’s going to be the impact on collections? Fortunately, from what I’ve seen, from the many webinars that I’ve attended, from the colleagues that own property that I’m familiar with, collections in April and May have been surprisingly good relative to what the expectations were or the uncertainty was going into April. The big question was, are rents going to be 50% collected relative to March or April of 2019? That was a big uncertainty.
We started to see lenders who were changing their terms. In terms of you’re being required to have twelve months of principal and interest reserves on top of your tax and insurance reserves. Whereas before, you may have only needed three months of reserves, now you’ve got to come up with four times as much reserves, which means you’ve got to raise more equity, which means that’s going to impact how favorable your deal appears to a potential investor. All kinds of new things were developing, the uncertainty of collection, all of that put a big damper on the market. We’re still in a place of uncertainty.
One of the big things that I’ve been saying, I’m not the first to be saying this, “What’s going to happen once the stimulus funds that have been provided under the CARES Act?” As you know, Lisa, those who have filed for unemployment, they would be eligible for in terms of state unemployment, the CARES Act provided $600 a week on top of that. It’s a supplement of $2,400 on top of what they would have ordinarily gotten from the state. Let’s say that you were making $40,000 a year before COVID and while you were employed, if you get laid off, there’s the potential for you to be receiving as much, if not more than you were making when you were employed. There are some who are saying that it served as a disincentive to people returning to work. That supplement is due to expire. The question is going to be, in September and October, what are those collections going to look like? That’s going to be a bigger test for us than even April and May. There’s still a cloud of uncertainty over the marketplace and over the space. Most people were pleasantly surprised by how collections held up in the month of April and May.
Thank you for that. My last question before the level up questions that I ask all my guests is, I want to touch on the topic of leaving Corporate America. Leaving the high paying job is extremely challenging. It’s not easy to walk away. One, if you could talk about how the process was for you and advice you would give to other people who are thinking about doing so.
I did twenty years in corporate life and various roles from a transactional attorney to in-house counsel to chief compliance officer and had some great experiences, got to build some great teams, and travel internationally. We do some fun things that I look back on fondly. It’s definitely a scary thing once you make that decision that you’re going to move on and you’re going to try something else. I was at that point years ago where I said, “There isn’t much more for me to do in this space. I need something different.” Fortunately, I’m in a position financially where I know I don’t have to go find a job. I have the comfort and space to say, “Let’s look out on the horizon and assess what is it that you want to do.” For me, that was real estate. I said, “I wanted to do it on a bigger scale and no more onesie-twosie. I wanted to try it in a bigger way.” I carved out space for myself.
The advice that I would give is if that’s what you want to do, that’s not a spur of the moment decision. That’s something that can be years in the making. You’re building towards that place where you’re building up your financial reserves and cushion so that you have that freedom where effectively you are paying yourself out of your reserves. There is no direct deposit coming. There is no W-2 to fall back on. The safety net is removed. If you’re going to remove that safety net, you need to know, “Have I done what I need to do in order to create my own safety net?” Always have a plan B and I would say a plan C, if you will. This is a term they talk about, burning your boats. When you leave corporate life, the longer you stay away, the harder it is to return if that’s something that you want to do or need to do at some point in time.
I always knew, felt, and believe that as a lawyer with some solid experience over those many years, that worst-case scenario, I could always find a job or get a job and return to corporate life in some capacity. I’m away for years so that’s maybe not as true as it was after leaving. Worst case scenario, that’s something that is doable. What’s interesting to me is being in a position where my worst-case scenario is going and getting a job. Whereas many people who haven’t yet made that transition, their worst fear is losing their job.
If that’s my worst concern, that I have to go get a job. I’ll take that any day over being in a position where on any day-to-day, week-to-week basis, I’m worried about, is there going to be some corporate upheaval? Is there going to be some development that causes someone to knock on my door and say, “We love you but we got to let you go or we’re making a change and you don’t fit into that change?” The freedom in real estate and entrepreneurship, in general, will force when you venture out and decide you’re going to do something for yourself. You live and die based upon your own activity, initiative and efforts. You’ve removed that safety net. Fortunately, or hopefully, you’ve done that preparation leading up to the point where you make that definitive decision that I’m going to step away. I’m going to try and venture out and do something that’s more entrepreneurial without any of the guarantees and comfort of a W-2 job with a solid employer who’s paying you.
It’s not an easy decision. That’s some great advice.
I have four children. What I’ve learned over the last several years in particular after leaving corporate life is that your children are watching and they’re paying attention to what you do and what you say. For me, one of the things that I’ve tried to set my children up to do is to be able to do anything that they want to do without the encumbrances of having to worry about student loans, “I can’t do that career because that career doesn’t pay what I need to make,” or things of that nature. I’ve always said to them, “Do the thing that makes you happy. Do the thing that you’re passionate about. Your passion isn’t determined based upon income.” I’ve tried to instill in them, “Go where your talents take you. Don’t be defined by based upon how much of this career or this industry pay me.”All roads lead back to family and freedom. Click To Tweet
Being an entrepreneur and stepping out on faith, it’s one thing to talk about and tell your kids in theory. It’s a whole another thing for you to live it and for them to see you transitioning from a safe comfort zone of corporate life, which is what my kids have known for all of their lives, then see me transition into being an entrepreneurial real estate scrambling and trying to make it happen in that world. Your children are watching you. When you step out there and you leave that safety net behind, you’re also demonstrating to your children that path isn’t the only path and their only option. There are other things that you can do. You’re forced to take your own advice and live it out in front of your children.
With that, these are my level up questions I ask all my guests. The first one is, what are you grateful for in your life?
For me, all roads lead back to family and freedom, the ability to have the freedom to manage my own time. No one dictates or manages my time other than my children and what I’ve got to do with them. There’s no one telling me that I’ve got to get on a plane and I’ve got to be in the location by the day, which was part of my reality for many years. There’s no one telling me, “Cancel your weekend plans. We need you in DC to do some due diligence on the transaction.” Having the freedom of time and the control of my own time is something that I appreciate and value. What I do with that time is I have more quality time with my family during the whole COVID reality and not just quality time but quantitatively. I have more time to spend with my family. Those are two things, which are interrelated and the things that I value the most.
What has attributed to your success and continuous growth?
Consistency and discipline are things that I value and are reflected in my character. I’m a Libra. I talk about my sign is the scales. We’re balanced people, generally speaking. No big highs and no big lows. I’m steady and reliable. For me, what that looks like in the business world is not chasing the shiniest spoon and not being distracted by some new opportunity that takes you off track. Doing your research, deciding where it is that you want to play, and being consistent in your pursuit of whatever your objective is in that space. That has paid off for me in the past and will continue, hopefully, to pay off for me in the future.
Lastly, what do you now know that you wish you knew at the beginning of your journey?
I wish I had jumped in earlier and had done more in parallel to my corporate life. When you’re in corporate life, it’s easy to say that you’re too busy to take on the things outside of the 9:00 to 5:00, because I’ve never worked from 9:00 to 5:00. It’s usually 9:00 to 8:00, something along those lines. Recognizing that there is an opportunity for you too, in a parallel track, to pursue opportunities and interest in education outside of your day-to-day that is ultimately going to bear fruit for you later in life. Looking back, I would say to start earlier and don’t use the excuse of being too busy. There’s always an opportunity for you to pursue your interests beyond whatever it is that is compensating you on a day-to-day basis.
If my readers want to learn more about you and your investments, offerings, the whole nine yards, where’s the best place they can go to learn more?
I’m active on LinkedIn. I’m active on Facebook. If you look me up on LinkedIn or Facebook, you can find me there. CliveDavis@Hotmail.com is my email address. Shoot me an email. I love talking to people. If you want to talk real estate, I can talk to your ear off all day. We can set up a call and do that. I’m happy to talk to people, especially people who are earlier in their journey. One of the things that are important to do is to pass on your knowledge to others who are coming into a space. The things that you pass along, that goodwill will be passed back to you in other forms. That’s why doing things like this and talking to others interested in real estate is something I like to do. LinkedIn, Hotmail, CliveDavis@hotmail.com, and you can get a hold of me. I have a Facebook group that I host, which is at the African-American Multifamily Investment Network, for anyone that’s interested in that. It’s a place of like-minded individuals between multifamily from many different angles, a lot of experienced folks in that space. That’s another place or destination where you can find me.
Thank you, Clive, for coming on the show. I appreciate it. You dropped a lot of knowledge and valuable insights. A lot of my readers will have a lot of great takeaways from this episode. Thank you for coming on. I appreciate it.
Thank you, Lisa. I appreciate it. Best of luck out there.
- Clive Davis – LinkedIn
- Facebook – Clive Davis
- African-American Multifamily Investment Network – Facebook group
About Clive Davis
• Co-op Apartment in Long Island City, NY (1997 – present)
Commercial Real Estate Investments Since 2017:
• Turk & Leavenworth 231 micro-unit development in San Francisco, CA
• Elmwood Row 13 unit development in Los Angeles, CA
• Elm 38 unit, Downey, CA
• Ben Hur, 8 unit, Whittier, CA
• Broadcast Apartments, 144 unit redevelopment in Washington, D.C.
• Rainbow Forest Apartments, 156 unit, Decatur, GA
• Avia Riverside Apartment Homes, 396 unit, Roswell, GA
• Hotel Portfolio of three (3) Marriott – Fairfield Inn & Suites, 317 keys, Metro Atlanta, GA
• Lago Paradiso, 424 unit, Miami, FL
• Yorkville Manhattan, 48 unit, New York, NY
• MG Capital Fund IV, acquiring ~100 un-levered corporate leased residences, New York, NY
• St. Elmo Apartments, 387 unit development, Austin, TX
• Urbana, 204 unit residence, San Antonio, TX
Professional Business Experience & Education:
Four years as a corporate transactional lawyer in Banking, Real Estate, M&A, and Securities with a global Wall Street law firm, headquartered in NY, NY, with assignments in Menlo Park, CA, and Hong Kong, China. Six years of In-house counsel experience with a global pharmaceutical company, headquartered in New York. Nine years in Atlanta as a Chief Compliance Officer of a Belgian biopharmaceutical company.
Clive holds a Juris Doctorate from the Columbia University School of Law and is admitted to practice in New Jersey, New York, and before the Court of International Trade. He holds an M.A. from SUNY at Albany and a B.A., with high honors, Rutgers University.
Brad Sumrok Personal Mentoring Student (November 2018)
Brad, the 2012 National Apartment Association Independent Rental Owner of the Year, is currently the owner of 4,500+ multi-family units. His personal students have acquired over $1B in apartments.
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