Stay in your lane
We’ve all heard the phrase “stay in your lane,” but what does it actually mean?
Should you limit yourself only to the things you’re good at, and never venture beyond those lines?
As syndicators, my husband Bruce and I maintain that staying in your lane means maximizing your strengths while not being afraid to improve upon your weaknesses because life and business, like traffic, ebbs and flows.
It took us a lot of trial and error to figure that out, but after trying different approaches, we’ve learned that he shines as the face of our projects while I thrive behind-the-scenes.
Bruce spent the early part of his career as a stock broker and retail manager before settling into real estate. I’ve owned/managed rental property in Austin since 2000. I also worked for a top-35 accounting firm, preparing tax returns and audits for apartment complexes.
Funny enough, we actually met at a real estate event and have been married for nearly five years.
Bruce underwrites and narrows down the properties, and is the point person for our loans. I raise the capital, and together we handle the asset management.
That balance has helped us grow from a company with 48 units and one independent contractor in 2012 to nearly 30 full-time staff members and over 1,100 units.
Through that discovery of our roles and lanes within our company, we’ve broken down syndication into four main categories: Deal Flow and Underwriting, Raising Equity, the Loan and Asset Management.
Deal Flow and Underwriting
Arguably the most important part of our company is identifying an area we want to invest in and selecting a property based on its size and class. A few parameters we evaluate include population, potential growth of the community and proximity to us as a self-managed company. Narrowing down the properties and underwriting is one of Bruce’s areas of expertise. This is the lone duty that ends at closing as the other three phases of our model continue throughout ownership of the property.
This is the social aspect of our brand as we strive to develop and maintain relationships through real estate events within the community.
We tackle the majority of these occasions as a team, but Bruce makes a lot of our initial connections, while I maintain them on the backend.
Bruce distributes all of our information, while I keep track of investors, paperwork and raising capital.
Establishing an excellent relationship with your mortgage broker is paramount. You may also need a Key Principal — someone who helps shore up the balance sheet or cash requirements for the loan. While we are both signing on the loans, Bruce is our point person for the loans.
Asset Management begins during acquisition, but the majority of my duties here are done after closing on a property.
Some of my responsibilities include designating an accounting firm, cost segregation, protecting the asset through rehab and capital projects, and property tax management.
We are in constant communication with investors even after closing on a project, providing them with updates, webinars and property tours.
Over the years, we’ve tried to keep roles completely separate with little to no crossover, but we’ve discovered that the best way to “stay in your lane” for us is to both be driving our company toward the same destination.