Real estate investing takes perseverance and guts especially in meeting with investors and establishing rapport. Real estate investor Caleb Bryant talks about investor relations and why it’s important to care for your investors. Caleb began his real estate journey in 2014 after realizing that touring with a band wasn’t going to pay the bills. After a couple of years of studying, he began investing in real estate. Since then, he has invested in over 600 units worth of a multifamily and single-family real estate. Caleb says that establishing good relationships with investors and brokers, patience, and having the right mindset are the best ways to help you close deals.
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Caleb Bryant on Why Caring For Investors Matters
Our guest is Caleb Bryant. Thanks for being on the show, Caleb.
Thank you for having me, Whitney.
I’m honored to have you on the show. I’ve known you for a few years now. We met at the first Jake & Gino event. It’s been great to see your progression. We’re still in here trying to make it happen, trying to crush it anyway. Caleb began his real estate journey in 2014 after realizing that touring with metalcore band wasn’t going to pay the bills. After a couple of years of studying, he began investing in real estate. Since then, he has invested in over 600 units worth of a multifamily and single-family real estate. I see you all over social media like me. You’re out there getting with it. You’re looking at units, meeting people and making it happen. I appreciate your drive as well. Tell the audience a little bit more about who you are and what your focus is right now.
I’m Caleb Bryant. I’m originally from Blacksburg, Virginia where the Virginia Tech Hokies play. I didn’t see real estate as my option for the future necessarily at first. When I graduated high school, I wanted to do something fun. I toured around with a band and went all over the United States playing shows, but you don’t make a lot of money doing that. At least we didn’t make a lot of money doing that. I need to find something that made more sense. Real estate is the natural direction to go because a lot of people and my parents’ network were involved in real estate investment in one way or another. That’s where it all started back then.
What did you play in the band?
I played bass because no one needs guitarists. That’s what everyone wants to be. I played guitar first and everyone was like, “We need a bassist.” I was like, “I’ll try.”
You’re in the band and you figured out it wasn’t going to pay the bills. You got into real estate. You said your parents were into real estate a little bit or maybe the family was. What was your first venture into real estate?
My dad was involved in a couple of land deals where he flipped land with a partner. He got me involved in one of those because the first one was before I paid any attention or even knew what a business was. He had another opportunity and he’s like, “Check this out.” It was a good land flip. It was a situation where the buyer needed to get rid of it or it was going to go to someone he didn’t like or something like that. Dad was able to pick it up for a very cheap price. He basically resells it after cutting down a few trees for firewood for a significant profit. One of dad’s friends and also the broker that brokered the deal, he ended up being my broker. I got my real estate license. I worked for him for a while. He was an investor too. While he had the broker hat, I’ve learned a lot underneath him that has benefited me in the future.
I’ve heard of numerous people that will start as a realtor or a broker of some type selling real estate and they learn a lot about the business, then move strictly to an investor or buying their own deals and land an account like we’re trying to do now. That transition though, you knew you didn’t want to sell real estate forever.
It happened immediately. As soon as I started showing people houses, I was like, “I’m doing this wrong.” This is a problem in real estate sales. I could not relate to the wife what she was looking for. I was looking for a deal. I can’t sell a kitchen like, “No, but you can do this.” I knew immediately, “I’m not supposed to be in retail sales, I’m supposed to find a way to invest in this.” That’s where my mind started turning. That’s when I started looking into what is the best avenue or the best niche for real estate investing versus retail, I did do a few sales as well though.
Tell me about that transition. You’re looking at apartment communities now. Go through that transition a little bit to where you’re at now. You’re looking to buy large apartment communities and not everybody can just jump into that level.
When I figured out that I needed to be an investor, I went to BiggerPockets and all the resources trying to figure out what niche I wanted to pick. The first deal that I watched from start to finish was that land flip. I knew I didn’t want something purely transactional like that. I wanted something that could bring cashflow too that was also involved in developing a single-family community. That didn’t bring cashflow either. It was like as you sell the lots, you get chunks of cash. I wanted to find something that was cashflow. I read Ken McElroy’s book, The ABCs of Real Estate Investing. That’s what shifted me towards multifamily specifically. That book catapulted me into networking and meeting the people that were doing this. As far as getting to the point where I invested in real estate, the first deal I invested in was syndication but as a limited partner.
A lot of people get into the business that way. Is that something you recommend from your experience going in as a passive, limited partner to learn the multifamily business?
Maybe and it worked well for me because I went in wanting to learn more and to see how the sponsors interact with investors such as myself, how they market, how to read the OMs, the PPMs, all of these documents that I had never seen before and understand them well. It was cool to see how they go through and they do a monthly newsletter and a quarterly report of all the financials and things like that. It was neat to see what type of communications they make because in the future, I was going to need to have that communication with people in deals with me. It was a good learning experience. If you have the money to invest in that way, you’ve got to make sure you trust your sponsors and you believe in the market and all that. I don’t think it’s a bad way to start by any means.
Give us an update on what you’re looking for now and what your business is doing, the tops of deals you’re looking for.
We closed a 96-unit and we wanted to ramp up after that. We started looking for portfolios or smaller, like 400 to 500-unit portfolios. We wanted the properties in those to be 100 plus. We’ve been looking around for stuff like that in the Alabama markets. The southeast would be the best way to describe the markets we’re looking at like Atlanta, Birmingham, Huntsville, Chattanooga and some other markets.
How do you look for a portfolio deal? I don’t hear many people say that they’re looking for a portfolio deal. How would that differ from looking for the 100-unit apartment complex?
We go into it a couple of ways. I have been using Reonomy to try to find portfolios, which is a software for those that don’t know. It doesn’t work very well in Alabama. It’s because of the way they input the data here. I have friends that have used it and they love it in other areas. Other than that, I’ve been using a tool they have on there where I can go build a list of apartment complexes that I am aware of, upload it and get all the owner information. There’s a button to see if they own other property. It doesn’t always work, but at least it gives you an idea. The best way is to have good relationships with brokers and tell them exactly what you’re looking for. The partners that I am with, they’ve built these relationships for a long time with the brokers in the Alabama markets and some Georgia markets. They’re able to communicate with them and tell them what they want. The brokers trust us to be able to close that when the time comes.The best way to get the owner information is to have good relationships with brokers and to tell them exactly what you're looking for. Click To Tweet
Let’s elaborate on that a little bit, the broker relations. It’s so important, how you’ve managed to do that and build those relationships with brokers.
I don’t even want to lie. I’m better at relationships with investors. I’m not as good with relationships with brokers. That’s why I’ve teamed up with investors that are good with those relationships because I get a little bit impatient. The hardest part of this business for me is slow down. It takes time. I let them handle those conversations. Most of the time, I’ll talk to a lot of the brokers here in Huntsville because that’s the market I’ve planted myself in. They’re the ones who hold those relationships. They’ve been doing this since 2005. These brokers know their names. I don’t have to worry about that as much.
That’s a great way that you’ve taken care of what you’re not good at. You’re good at this other issue over here and you’ve teamed up with somebody who has those skills.
I had a coach for a little while there. That was one of the tasks like, “Call X amount of brokers. Follow up every two weeks.” I was like, “This is hard for me. How do I get around this?” Team up with the right people. I figured that out for most things that you’re either bad at, team up with someone that’s good at it. I bring one set of skills and they bring a whole other set of skills. It’s been good.
Investor relations are what you specialize in?
Yeah, it goes back to the same principle of the wife and a real estate transaction. My mindset is aligned with other investors. It’s easier for me to have those conversations. It’s more natural. With a broker, they’re a salesman. I don’t know how to approach it necessarily.
You’re thinking like an investor. You can have that conversation. You know what they’re going to ask usually and probably as well. How are you meeting investors now?
It’s a similar way to you. I hit up a lot of conferences when I can. Their networking events overall, most people go there to learn or get an education. I’m more there to meet people. You get a lot of education by talking to people that are on a higher level than you. I go to a lot of events like Ultimate Partnering in Boston or the Best Ever Conference in Denver. We met at the Wheelbarrow Profits event back when it was called that. That’s been huge. That’s where a lot of my business has started from at least. From there, social media has added like a wave because all the people I’m connected with that have been to those conferences are also connected with me on social. Through the mutual connections that people see on social media, they’re able to say, “That guy does stuff. He’s also friends with so and so who does stuff. I should probably send him a message.” It starts to generate a whole new wheel when you plug it into social media.
Do you mind to elaborate on that a little bit? You’ve mentioned like plugging in into social media and maybe some workflow there that our readers could add to their daily routine to help build their brand on social media or connect with more investors like you have.
It’s not a super difficult process by any means. I basically tell people what I’m doing in this business so it could be a simple picture at a closing, “We closed a property,” or it might be a short Facebook Live video, that’s been very successful, where I talk about what we did that day in a particular apartment unit like, “We replaced the floors. Here’s what it looks like.” Maybe give a few tips or tricks that we have. The key is if you consistently show them that you’re in this business, you’re working it, it builds a lot of credibility. People see you as a force. An influencer might be the correct term. There aren’t a lot of people doing it in Alabama, so I got an advantage there as well.
A keyword that you mentioned there was consistent. You’re being consistent. People are consistently seeing you often that you’re in this space and looking at real estate. Even though they may not know that they want to invest in large multifamily deals, they still may come to you and they think they do.
It happens quite often. I want to at least put this trick on there. I use BiggerPockets a lot. I don’t do anything fancy. I go on and I have a few keywords. My keywords would be Birmingham, Huntsville, multifamily, apartments, things like that. I want people that are searching for that to find me. The way I do that is I go post on everybody’s thread that uses those keywords or I’ll do my own post that incorporates those keywords. That way if someone’s looking for that, they see it. I’ve set up probably 100 of appointments. There’s been a lot of closed deals involved with that too simply by getting on BiggerPockets. I don’t do it every day. I’d say two or three times a week I’m on there. That’s enough to generate a lot of activity. That’s another good one.You’re in control of your mind; start putting better thoughts in there. Click To Tweet
I’ve heard numerous people talk about that. Audience thinking about BiggerPockets, you got to be on there. I’m not on there enough personally. Any other platforms that you recommend that you’re talking about social media? Anything else that you utilize to put yourself out there?
Instagram is growing but what I noticed with Instagram is sometimes people don’t even ask for your phone number anymore. They just ask for your Instagram username and I’m like, “I should probably pay more attention.” Since I started paying attention, I’ve grown it a lot, believe it or not. It’s funny because Gary Vee would talk about it. I make a lot of money through DMs simply because people do it that way now. I’m like a young, old person. It’s almost new to me. I’ve started doing it, I’ve closed a lot of business because I’ll do single family deals here and there. I have a single family business partner here as well. If it doesn’t work for multifamily, I’m like, “Have you ever thought about private money? Have you ever thought about the BRRRR strategy?” or whatever it is that fits their situation? I’m able to shift them over into a direction and we’re still able to close some deal.
You say DM. I have you to tell us what that is.
It’s a Direct Message or a private message. They call them all kinds of different things.
Our audience doesn’t know what those acronyms mean. We’ve got on the social media here. How do you move that direct message to make money?
You got to set up a call, which is easier for me to do with investors. When it’s an investor hitting me up like, “I have money to invest, but I don’t know what to do with whatever the situation is,” I’m like, “When can you talk next week?” then I get on the phone with them. Where it all happens is on that phone call because you’re able to build rapport. You’re able to figure out what their situation is because a lot of times it’s something personal. It’ll come out on the phone call. You’re able to help them through that personal situation and over into some deal, whatever works for them. Sometimes I personally can’t help, but I know a lot of people. I’m like, “Why don’t you go call such and such? They’ll treat you great. They do that deal all the time.” Even when it doesn’t work for me, I get a call later from whoever it was saying, “Thanks for connecting us. We did a deal.” That’s awesome too because it all comes back eventually.
I appreciate you sharing that. What’s been the hardest part for you, Caleb, in the multifamily journey? Maybe from getting started to maybe even a recent deal that you’ve completed?
It is patience. I have a, “I want to get it done” personality. With multifamily, it started with a lot of research, a lot of networking and a lot of team building. Finally, we bought that first deal. What do you know? You got to wait some more. It’s taught me patience. That’s the part that’s been the hardest, but it’s been a good thing. It’s been growing me. As we’re going in to try to attack these bigger deals, I can adjust because things happen. You want to refi in six months, but it takes eight months or whatever it is. You have to be prepared and keep your mindset in a place where, “We found a problem. How do we solve it?” It’s always thinking to solve the problem and continue towards the goal.
I know you’re big on mindset. What’s your key for mindset and training your mind to think that way?
It all started with Think and Grow Rich. I realized that I could be in control of my mind, I started putting better thoughts in there. In the morning, I’ll write my goals down. That helps you get in the right mindset to begin with like, “What am I doing with my day? Where am I trying to go?” That helps. For me, it’s feeding myself with positivity. The people in my circle help me with that as well. When I’m feeling a little low, the people in my circle are always there for me and vice versa. Keeping yourself around the right people is huge for that as well.
Your key is helping investor relations. You’re good at that. What’s the best advice you have for caring for investors and how you stand out above other operators?
I feel like it’s about giving them some time. A lot of people don’t want to spend five minutes on a phone call that doesn’t necessarily have a peer investing point. I do, maybe it’s because I like to talk, but it’s worked well to my advantage. At networking events, it’s the same thing. I don’t want to say, “Here’s my business card,” and leave. I want to learn more about the person and see if there is some benefit. Even if there isn’t a benefit, at least give them the time of day, let them know that I care.
It goes a long way to be patient on the phone too and just listen. What’s the number one thing that’s contributed to your success, Caleb?
I would say networking your team because the team came from networking. Align yourself with people that are great at things that you’re not great at. Give them a benefit by being great at things they’re not necessarily great at and you’re going to do well.
How do you like to give back?
I like running and a lot of times I’ll raise money when I’m running. My favorite nonprofit to support is Hard Support because they help people that are struggling with depression, anxiety, situations of abuse or, as we talked about, positive self-talk. These people struggle with negative self-talk or even suicidal thoughts. That’s one of the ones I definitely love to give to.
Caleb, thank you again. I appreciate you elaborating on especially the social media stuff and BiggerPockets, how that’s been so beneficial and telling us what DM stands for. I appreciate you sharing. Your growing and I can see it happening in your business. Congratulations to what you’ve accomplished. Tell the audience how they can get in touch with you and learn more about you.
Thank you again, Caleb. I appreciate the audience being with us. I hope you all will leave a rating and review. I hope you go to Life Bridge Capital and connect with me.
- Caleb Bryant
- Jake & Gino
- Ultimate Partnering in Boston
- Best Ever Conference in Denver
- The ABCs of Real Estate Investing
- Think and Grow Rich
- @RelentlessInvestor – Instagram
- Life Bridge Capital
About Caleb Bryant
Caleb Bryant began his real estate journey in 2014 after realizing that touring with a metalcore band wasn’t going to pay the bills.
After a couple years of studying, he began investing in real estate. *Since then he has invested in over 600-units worth of a multifamily and single-family real estate.
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