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There’s A LOT that goes into a multi-family deal from concept to close — which is why so many real estate investors decide to work with a general contractor. But be warned, not all general contractors are created equal, and choosing the right one can be the difference between your project going good or bad.  

 

So, how do you find a reliable team that will get the job done properly? That’s what today’s discussion with Ira Singer is all about! 

 

Ira is principal of Mosaic Construction — a full service design-build firm specializing in commercial and multifamily renovation. For more than 25 years, Ira has worked with multifamily investors and owners across the US to add value or reposition their properties. 

 

As a self-proclaimed “project junkie”, Ira’s responsible for leading new business development, construction, production and the management of trade partner and vendor relationships.

 

In our conversation, you’ll learn about the role and responsibilities of a general contractor — and the major benefits to working with one. We dig into the best fee structure to use, major mistakes to avoid with subcontractors, and why relationships are the key to succeeding in the real estate industry. 

 

Whether you’re looking to do value-add improvements to your apartment buildings, mobile home parks, and self-storage units OR you’re planning a brand new build, you won’t want to miss my interview with Ira Singer!

Key Takeaways with Ira Singer

  • The most complete & Flexible construction software general contractors use to manage and deliver all aspects of a project —from concept to closeout.

  • The benefits to using a seasoned commercial contractor when investing in a multifamily property.

  • What kind of fee structure should you expect when it comes to working with a commercial contractor — and how do you make sure your project will be completed on time and on budget? 

  • Why you should ALWAYS avoid contractors who try to be their own subcontractor.

  • Ira shares a story of a time when a project went bad and his team was hired to clean up the mess! 

  • A behind-the-scenes look at what a full service design-build company does when managing a multifamily project.   

  • The importance and power of finding a good mentor.

  • Ira shares his keys to succeeding in business and life!

Ira Singer Tweetables

“We are not limited to say yes by the amount of trades or projects. We're limited by the amount of excellent management, which is what we see as our differentiator.” – Ira Singer

“Good communication and transparency are the hallmarks of successful general contracting.” – Ira Singer

Episode Resources

Connect with Josh Cantwell

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Josh Cantwell: So, hey, guys, welcome back to Accelerated Real Estate Investor with Josh Cantwell. Listen, I’ve got a special treat for you. For all of you who are doing major projects, renovations, rehab, design-build, new construction, this is a fantastic interview that I did with Ira Singer. Ira is the Principal of Mosaic Construction. They’re based out of Illinois but they have a national reach. They do a lot of their own work in the five or six states surrounding Chicago, but they also have a national reach. So, if you are looking to do some value add improvements on your apartment buildings or mobile home parks or self-storage units, or build new, this is an interview that you absolutely have to hear. Ira is one of the principals at Mosaic Construction. They’re a full-service design-build firm specializing in commercial and multifamily renovation. They’ve been doing it for over 25 years, partnering and working with multifamily investors and owners to reposition their properties. They also do a tremendous amount of work in the cannabis space as well, so you like to hear about that, to build new dispensaries and new cultivation centers. And in this interview, you’re going to hear a couple of things. First, you’re going to hear why Ira and I both prefer the cost-plus-fee model for working with a commercial contractor. 

 

Number two, you’re going to hear over and over why Ira and I believe in relationships and why relationships mean all and make all the difference. When you have a large budget, whether it’s a couple of hundred thousand or a couple of million dollars to reposition your properties, why relationships between the owner-operator, the general contractor, which is what Ira does, the site supervisor who’s on-site, and then all the subcontractors, why those relationships are key. Also, I asked Ira – point number three – about his specific team. So, he’s got a team of 16 full-time members and those 16 people, like what do they do? What does he need to have to run his business? I think you’ll love to hear Ira’s take on the various people in his company and how his company is structured. I also asked Ira the difficult question – point number four – about what it’s like to come in after the owner-operator picked the wrong contractor and the original contractor already screwed things up and he’s got to come in and clean up the mess. And then finally, number five, we talk a little bit about Ira’s passion for helping other people, his passion for having charitable endeavors, things that he gives back to the community, and how he builds an amazing culture in his business. Thank you for joining me again. And I hope you love this interview on Accelerated Real Estate Investor with Ira Singer. Here we go. 

 

[INTERVIEW]

 

Josh Cantwell: So, hey, Ira, listen, so excited to have you finally on Accelerated Real Estate Investor. Thanks so much for carving out a few minutes for us. 

 

Ira Singer: Thank you, Josh. Looking forward to the great conversation. 

 

Josh Cantwell: You bet. You bet. So, let’s jump into that conversation, Ira, and why don’t you tell me about something that you’re working on today? I know you guys do a lot of design-build, you guys do a lot of value-add for capex for multifamily but we’re kind of wrapping up this week, like what do you have going on the rest of this week and next week that kind of gets your juices going that’s really building your company and helping you guys grow? 

 

Ira Singer: As a general contractor, I am a project junkie. So, all phases of construction, prelaunch coming out of design and bidding into literally the start of a project on certain multifamily and then, of course, working through some that were on. So, in the day-to-day, we’ve got multifamily renovation projects across the asset classes and across the big to small and whether they’re in start or finish. That’s on the project side. There’s thankfully always projects going on that get me going because projects have challenges and they need daily check-in. But in terms of the bigger picture in our company, the COVID opportunity which put our team at home, and some of them are, of course, back in our office, but we looked at where we had some deficiencies and where we could use some upgrades ourselves in the walls of our company and that really looked like team and technology. And so, I’m jacked about the technology that we have implemented over the course of a year to help us with our project management, our financials, and all the things that go into our daily running of our operation. And that includes team upgrades and team changes, bring on some nuanced roles within our company to make us better. And I’m excited about that, too. 

 

Josh Cantwell: Nice. So, let’s talk about scale and technology. I think that’s an interesting topic to kind of peel back the onion a little bit because all of us are business owners, right? Everybody listening is a business owner, whether they’re a residential investor, commercial, whether they’re a leader, an influencer, they’re all running a company. And to me, we tell our company all the time, like if it’s not in the software, it didn’t happen. So, how has technology, what specifically types of technology, what software have you onboarded in the last year to help you guys run more efficiently? And what kind of impact has it had? Is it giving you more visibility? Is it allowing you to do more projects because you can scale? Tell us a little bit more about the technology that you onboarded and the impact that it’s had. 

 

Ira Singer: Yes to all of those very smart points. CMIC is a Canadian-based project management software for the construction industry. We have run our business on other platforms. And the disconnect was that our financial software, which is Sage, didn’t speak to our project field software because it didn’t have a financial model. And so, CMIC which is a robust project management financial software, it has team management stuff from an H.R. perspective. It really has a one-shop suite of services for my team to be more efficient in the field, managing the project, capturing the information, allowing the client to have access into their project as a portal so they can see the progress going on. It handles change orders internally, award of contracts internally within the software, and most importantly, financial. So, if something goes and gets inputted, be it budget change order, automatically my financial AP team is in the mix versus the delay of communications having to go between team members because they’re on two different software platforms. So, that has made us more efficient. It has raised our level of expertise because it’s a very robust platform. So, it’s teaching us as it’s making us better. 

 

Josh Cantwell: Got it. So, Ira, let’s have this conversation and let me give it some context. Let’s say I buy a multifamily property. I just bought a 220-unit a week ago. The budget that we have for that is 1.411 million. It includes some roofs. It includes some of the exteriors, awnings, shutters, a dog park, landscaping. It includes a new playground, includes sealing and striping the parking lots because we’ve got just enough parking for like one spot per unit. And now we’re realizing taking over the building that some of these units have four people living in them and they shouldn’t be. So, people that shouldn’t be living there are taking parking spots. We’ve got to restripe the parking lot. We’re going to do unit turns, it’s a 220, we got 30 units that have already been turned by the previous owner. We’ve got 190 that we need to turn. These are about 700, 750 square feet units. Flooring, trim, kitchen, new cabinets, countertops, new fixtures, paint, of course, and then new bathroom, budget per unit is about $10 a foot, give or take of what we’re going to do in each unit as just kind of a round. So, total budget, 1.411 million. I know you guys are based in Chicago but you guys have national reach. We’re in Cleveland. 

 

Help me understand. Let’s start with that project as a basis for our audience to understand. If someone else was buying this building and they were just getting it under contract, going through due diligence, how and what is the best way for them to engage with someone like you to bring you in from day zero to kind of start to partner with someone like you, to help them form up the budget, make sure that due diligence is done properly? Let’s start with the due diligence process then we’ll move into execution after we own the building. Let’s start from day zero. What’s the best way to kind of bring someone like you in on day one and what kind of services do you provide during that due diligence time? 

 

Ira Singer: So, being a guest on your podcast and having an opportunity to be a voice to your listeners allows for the message of exactly what you’re talking about before they’re hard on the property to find the right contractor to bring in. Yes, it’s going to get inspected. There’s probably going to be a feasibility study. Just you bring in some third party that has got contractor speak but is not an actual contractor. So, you identify that the roofs are bad like you know. You identify that there’s sealing and striping, parking lot issues. You’re smart enough and your audience is smart enough owning and operating assets to see what they see. What they don’t see and what a person of my 30 years of experience coming in early allows to help with is all of the items that are about the strategy, about the play of how you’re going to either go from C to B or it’s proof of concept to get in there quickly, speed the market to come in, quick design, flip six, seven, eight, nine units, increase rent and two years later, flip out for a less investment for a shorter time frame. Understanding all of those things up front and having the right contractor in place to have those high-level conversations allows for me to do my best work in preconstruction to help with budgeting around what’s the impact. 

 

My eyes see that the roofs are bad but what about the guttering that are attached to it? What about the adjacent or the surfaces that are being affected when you landscape? You know, what does that mean for the walkways up? When you beautify the dog park and the playground, what does it mean for the site signage? So, there’s design, there’s form, there’s function, all of those things. If I’m given the opportunity to be upstream with the owner as they are going through consideration, I can very much help with putting buckets of money to projects. You listed nine projects you’re going to do on. 

 

Josh Cantwell: Yes, sure. 

 

Ira Singer: You know, some of them can be done actually at the same time because they’re in different spaces of the asset. So, wouldn’t it be better because the building is going to go through, the community is going to go through a fairly aggressive triage as your residents live through all of these moving parts and pieces, whether it’s in their unit, in their hallways, at their roofs, at their outside spaces, as much as you can do in a fluid scheduled time? All of those things should be done well ahead of deployment. So, expectations are set, budgets are known, and having a seasoned general contractor in multifamily across all asset classes from exteriors to interior units to common areas to amenity spaces for what your overall, your big picture plan is, let me come in and help define that with product, scope, timing, costs so you’re launching successfully at the close. 

 

Josh Cantwell: Got it. So, I work with a lot of different contractors, looked at design-build, residential assisted living, and you get to all different kind of quotes from different types of contractors. Some guys bake their fee into the cost. Some guys have open book where it’s, “Here’s our costs. We’re just going to add a project management fee or a construction fee on top of that,” so everybody sees the books. This is exactly what we paid for material, it’s exactly what we paid for labor, and you know exactly how much the fee is we’re charging on top of that. You’ve obviously been and seen both. From your experience, what do you think, again, our audience should be looking for? Is there a preferred way to do it when your margins get larger and larger? Is it cost-plus-fee? To me, I like the cost-plus-fee model because it’s super transparent. When somebody says I’ve had contractors before and this is more residential, but they’ve said, “No, we’re not going to cost-plus-fee,” man, my bullsh*t detector and my radar goes off immediately that just says, “This guy’s burying costs all over the place. He’s skimming fees everywhere.” Help me understand from your perspective, what have you seen work the best and what should we be looking out for from a contractor who does it different ways? 

 

Ira Singer: Well, I mean, do I have to say anything more than what you just outlined, which is exactly right. I mean, relationships with you and your team and the onsite team, the employees that you have, me with my trade partners and my clients’ relationships are all about trust, and trust in the general contracting industry is a slippery slope, as you’ve pointed out. And so, good communication and transparency are the hallmarks of successful general contracting. And so, we much prefer, I mean, I started my career as a window replacement salesperson. Window replacement single-family is still a part of my overall construction company. And so, if I’m selling seven windows, I’m not saying here’s the window cost, the labor cost, and the little bit of profit for a $6,000 contract. But when you’re talking about several hundred thousand to multimillion across any asset class that we’re working in from commercial office to medical to multifamily to cannabis, we are trade and supplier cost transparent. Mosaic fees specific to project management, general conditions, overhead, and profit, we break those out intentionally. We have no vested interest in making the project go longer than it is scheduled to go. So, when we build our budget and we present you with plumbing costs, electric costs, asphalt costs, roof costs, and we show our fees, it’s based on how long we think we’re going to need to be there to manage the project from launch to completion. And we want to hit that number. That way, we are basing our fees correctly to the size of the project and the timing that we think it’s going to take for it to get over the finish line. 

 

Josh Cantwell: Yeah. And you are running a business, by the way. So, once this project is done, you want to know when it’s going to be completed because you want to schedule something behind it. So, scheduling something and then making it run long doesn’t make any sense, right? 

 

Ira Singer: Well, the advantage of being a paper general, we don’t employ direct labor. So, because we’re working in 12 states, because we are working in a variety of different assets from single-family to multifamily and across other stuff, the trade pool that we are working with both locally and nationally, we are able to staff a bunch of different projects and we’re not burdened by having seventeen on payroll carpenters or demo guys that we have to find work for. So, we are not limited to say yes by the amount of trades or projects. We’re limited by the amount of excellent management, which is what we see as our differentiator. You know, we are in place to effectuate the project. God bless our trade partners. They are myopic. They look at their plumbing only. They look at their electrical. They don’t see the bigger picture to hustle the schedule, to get the inspections, to procure the materials on time, to create the handoff from the rough to the trim to the finish. So, we have management responsibilities beholden to the owner to stick to our schedules, to stick to our budgets. We have no vested interest in having projects run longer or cost more money. 

 

Josh Cantwell: You know what’s interesting, Ira, that’s fantastic stuff, the projects that I have personally been involved in that have run long, run over budget, it seems like every single one of them were was when the GC also tried to be its own sub and the GC was trying to play air traffic control man moving subs around and there was also trying to do some of the work. And so, help me and our audience understand again, why does it work better when the GC just is a paper GC bringing in subs versus trying to do both? Because to me, man, trying to do both is really hard. I’ve got one guy on site right now who’s managing just a small 80 unit, not a huge budget, a couple of hundred grand, and he constantly seems to be pulling off of a unit to go plan or to call a supplier, call somebody with material, and you’ve made that decision long ago to just be one or the other, not both. I’m sure you have a lot of insight into that. Why doesn’t that work? Why does it help you have more transparency into a job? What kind of advice would you give our audience to try to maybe avoid the people that try to be kind of everything to everyone? 

 

Ira Singer: So, lean construction is about efficiencies, not only in managing the project but also about the overhead that the company you’re hiring has in place. So, if I have a cadre of employees that are field personnel. A – my insurance burden is higher because I have risk for injury because they’re employees of mine doing fieldwork. So, my insurance number is higher, obviously, my overhead, my payroll, everything is escalated. It also limits me, to your point, to be able to perform on a myriad of projects in different asset classes, in different markets because I’m beholden to plug and play and I got to rob Peter to get him to replace Paul, who disappeared. Well, that doesn’t work. So, let me state without any misunderstanding that relationships are the most important thing in our business. Relationships with my team, primary first, because this is the people that I do go to business with every day, my employee team. Secondly, my clients and also not that far literally behind are all the trade partner companies from the single guy electrician to the 60-person flooring company that’s doing 100,000-square-feet of flooring in a warehouse finish. So, all of those are based on relationships and our ability to – I see our role as producer-director. 

 

We are producer directors of construction. The trades and the suppliers are the stars of the show. They go out there and they make it beautiful but behind their success is somebody who is plugging them in, telling them when to show up, understanding what their constraints are, helping them leverage so we can move them and shake them and get the project done because we are the ones owning the bag on the final product, on the production. We’re responsible. Everything in construction rolls uphill to the construction general contractor and if my painting guy or my flooring guy or my asphalt guy, they don’t do their job, our project management team is responsible for cleaning that up and figuring out a way. It’s very much a “Yes, and…” philosophy that has allowed for our transformational growth because we have said yes to markets. We have said yes to different projects where we weren’t experts in but we had a trusted relationship with someone coming to us and we said we can stand in and we can get this done and we will find the way with your vision, with good communication. And so, at the end of the day, you’re not hiring me because you like me. You’re hiring me because you have a track record that you can see because you have a real investment with real money at stake and it only makes sense when the contractor and the owner or the owner’s rep are working from launch to punch list with good communication, getting the project done on time because then you make your money. 

 

The great thing about multifamily is that you’re a multi-operator. If I do a good job with you on a 10-unit, a 60-unit, a 400-unit asset, and you go to another market and find another one and you find the right contractor that you trust that got you through the war and through the finish line and you’re making your money on that one, you feel a lot better about calling me to bring me into the next one because I’m not interested in one contract with you, Josh. I want to work with you on 17 assets of yours over the next six years. As you build your empire, I want to come along and take care of you. 

 

Josh Cantwell: Love it. All right. I’m sure you’ve been brought in when some other contracts fell on their face. 

 

Ira Singer: Oh yeah. 

 

Josh Cantwell: And that becomes a tough situation. You’ve got to clean up a mess. Tell us about an experience like that because you definitely don’t want to be as an owner-operator in that situation but it happens. Guy overpromises, under delivers. That guy gets yanked off the job. Maybe they’re overtime or over budget. You get brought in and kind of can get a little squirrely. That can be managed, though. And I’m sure you’ve come in on the white stallion and all of a sudden you’re the savior because the deal got back on track but it’s ugly when that happens. So, tell us about that experience and how can we avoid it? 

 

Ira Singer: You’re hitting on all the right questions, I got to tell you. 

 

Josh Cantwell: I’ve only been there, so I know. Unfortunately, from good and bad experience, I know. So, I’ll try. Again, I love to have guests on this show because I learn how to run my own business a little tighter. So, I’m just asking questions that are right there that are important to me and hopefully my audience has the same question at the top of their brain. Usually, they do so it works out. So, anyway, back to you. I’m sorry. 

 

Ira Singer: A brief story. We bid a job for somebody that we had a relationship with. We didn’t win it. We walked away and knew that it was going to be somebody else’s. This is a retail strip mall owner-operator that had assets where vanilla boxes and other things were needed. We were bidding their new corporate office and didn’t get it. Shortly into the work, my partner gets a call from the client, “I’m ready to fire the contractor. I made the wrong choice.” And so, the rescue contractor, the save contractor, that is a hard step to come into. There’s already blown feelings, they’re behind. They are spending more. They know as owners that they’re going to have to hire. They’re going to spend more to get somebody in to clean up the mess and to get it over the finish line. But at the end of the day, the time, the end game delivery date cannot be moved. And so, you have to have somebody in who can leverage trades, work quickly, pass inspections, do it on overtime hours and just do it. And so, thankfully, we were brought back. “I know I didn’t award it to you, but…” And so, we came in, we saw a whole bunch of problems, inspection issues and so we undid, redid, finished. 

 

That single effort for that single office buildout resulted in our largest client who unbeknownst to us from the retail strip mall business model they had they got into the cannabis game in Illinois six years ago and they applied for and won three medicinal licenses and they came to us as their trusted contractor because of how we had saved them in their office buildout. And we designed/built their first three dispensaries. That company went on to grow very quickly nationally, acquiring assets and licenses of other operators but also applying for in other states. And we went with them nationally and we would have never ever been their chosen design-build contractor in 11 states had they not brought us back in to clean up the mess that the prior contractor had made. 

 

Josh Cantwell: Yeah. Well, it’s a great story. Thanks for sharing that. So, Ira, I’m curious, again, back to my own project, this 220-unit, this $1.4 million budget. Give me some insight. Peel back there a little bit on your operation, like who’s on your team? I’m just always curious to see how businesses run, my own businesses, but other businesses. Who are some of the people and what seats are they sitting in to make that budget actually happen in the real world, like accounting people, project managers, foreman, a CFO? Help me understand, what does your business look like behind the scenes? 

 

Ira Singer: So, we have all of those. We have three principals of which I’m one of. One of my partner CEO runs our cannabis design-build and our boutique commercial design-build work. My role is in trade relations, team culture, and ultimately selling for multifamily commercial and the residential exterior value, and improvements. And then my other partner is, of course, CFO. We employ 16 total people. We’re professional services is how I see us. We’re project managers. We are production coordinators. We have administration bookkeeping, client relations, business development, and we are project-centric. So, on large-scale projects, we typically in our budgets bring in a site super to be at that site every day. Because like you’re describing in Cleveland, if you’re able to actually leverage the six things at once happening, that is a whole circus of life going on at that property every day. 

 

Josh Cantwell: I love the word “circus” because I know it is a circus, for sure. 

 

Ira Singer: Yeah. That site super needs to be able to communicate with the property management team or whoever is running that project to inform the residents that we’re coming in these units for these days but we’re going to be working on the roof on that building on that day but you can’t park over there because we’ve got the asphalt working. I’ve got to tell you, a talented site super to be able to run communications, check the daily flow. My team comes in, if it’s out of state, my team comes in once or twice a week to have owner client meetings, to effectuate the work, to make sure that we’re tracking, to have a three-week look ahead on the schedule, assuming we’re tracking that to be on point. If it’s local within two or two-and-a-half hours of Chicagoland, we’re not site-supering. We’re bringing our project managers out to the field every day. And right now, my employee team, my team members are running anywhere from four to six projects where they’re going every day and seeing projects and effectuating the progress. 

 

Josh Cantwell: Love it. Love it. I’d love to see and kind of feel the day-to-day, what the day-to-day looks like sitting in your seat, you and your principals, your partners. What does that feel like? I get kind of a small sense of what that’s like to kind of sit in your seat and run your business. Fantastic stuff. So, Ira, last couple of questions here. Really it’s just more about your development as an entrepreneur, your development as an owner. And so, I’m curious, you maybe have had a mentor. Everyone that’s successful typically has had someone that’s kind of pulled them up. Have you had mentors in your life? Who were some of the most important mentors that you’ve had personally for your own leadership development, entrepreneurship development? And why were they so important to you personally? 

 

Ira Singer: I’ve made good choices in some of my business relationships and I’ve made bad choices in some of my business relationships, and I think I learned more doing things poorly with an initial partner for 12 years in business than I learned in my current 17 years with my current business partners. That said, what we have done as a threesome with our team is just amazing that we are so asset agnostic that we say yes to those relationships. And so, Mike and Andy, my two business partners have been incredible. We are hands in the middle, more like brothers. And so, we work hard and we trust each other. And Mike came from the options trading world and so he brought a whole level of big picture, strategic thinking, and he has really served as a mentor to both Andy and I. And then just in terms of construction excellence and policy and procedure and striving, we’ve always had third-party strategic alliances who have come in on the leadership side, but also on the team side. We are highly team member-centric. And so, the word wall behind me is a good example of the positivity and the critical things that matter to this team that is employed at Mosaic Construction. Our mosaic actions right there. 

 

Josh Cantwell: Oh, very cool. I like it. 

 

Ira Singer: Essentially, we’ll call them modern-day mission and vision but we spent a lot of intentional time talking about what matters to us is our team members, our client relations, and our trade partners. Not subcontractors. Our trade partners. They have to feel empowered to go out there and represent our brand even when they’re working in Ohio away from our Chicago roots. This is how the Mosaic team goes to project with closing-the-loop mentality, anticipating need mentality, building relationships foundationally, doing it the right way. There’s a lot of ways to get to somewhere but do it the right way. Do it the right way that you communicated the way you were going to do it. Follow through on that and make sure that you’ve got buy-in from the people you’re bringing along. There’s a lot that goes into running a successful company. We feel that having a cultural flagpole in our office that we stand for something matters as to how my team ultimately goes beyond the walls of our company. 

 

Josh Cantwell: I love it, Ira. There’s a book. I don’t know if you’ve read it or heard it on audio, I have to recommend it because so many of the things that you’re saying are in line with the book. It’s one of my favorite recent reads. It’s called The Infinite Game by Simon Sinek. You have to listen to it. It’s right down the fairway of what you’re talking about. Fantastic stuff. Last two questions I’ve got are really more personal for you. I love to, as a business owner, you’ve got to take time to decompress. So, I’m curious, what’s your favorite place to decompress, vacation, and think? 

 

Ira Singer: So, my life is pretty simple. Blessed with three children who are college and above and my wife and I together for many, many, many years. And so, we align very simply in nature. We live on a lake. So, every day there is a piece within the backyard that gives me a centering around literally a sunrise, a sunset, the waterfowl on the lake, going out when it’s nice weather because we’re in Chicago so it’s frozen a lot. 

 

Josh Cantwell: Whatever weather you have, I have 36 hours later. So, I know what’s coming from Chicago. 

 

Ira Singer: Exactly. So, I feel that for me, my relationship with my health, with my immediate family, with nature to go out and decompress. I would rather be on a hike, be on a walk, be out in nature than being at a great restaurant. I am a Broadway and musical junkie. In all transparency, if you go in my car, the serious station is the Broadway Channel. I’ve been on stage and have been in a lot of shows as a community actor and I love to listen to Broadway. And so, sure, that’s a way for me to decompress but over the last year-and-a-half, there’s been no live theater or anything like that. And then the last thing I would say is being of service. We as a company have a high level of attention to a lot of nonprofits that we are not only donating money to support their causes but more importantly, serving on their committees or on boards in their leadership capacities. And so, by modeling that, my team gets involved. By modeling that, my children learn. And so, being of service, being able to make a difference, the world is so broken, the world needs so much help and so in our little corner, what we can do to support opportunities for growth and learning and improvement betterment, that gives me a really good feeling inside. 

 

Josh Cantwell: Yeah. I love it. I love it. Last question, Ira, is just about advice. You know, you’ve obviously accomplished a lot. You’re building an amazing business. You’ve been an impact on a lot of people. What kind of advice would you give your younger former self or what kind of advice do you give to your college-age kids, kids in their 20s, or even our audience about building businesses, being a man of integrity? What kind of advice would you give your younger former self that we can take away from this interview? 

 

Ira Singer: Thank you for that. That’s nice. I would say that we’ve talked about some of it, transparency. Be transparent. Be vulnerable. Be yourself. That means asking for help when you don’t know something. That’s a hard thing for people. Ask for help. If you don’t ask, I can assure you, you are not going to get it. 

 

Josh Cantwell: Right.  

 

Ira Singer: You’re sometimes asking for yourself and it may feel awkward and you’ll get a lot of times what you ask for. And so, I didn’t do that as a younger person. I thought that I would just do it myself. I’m not going to ask for help. I can do this. And when I’m struggling, I’m not going to show that I’m struggling because I’m not going to show that vulnerability. I’m going to shoulder up and hide. Well, that leads to a whole bunch of delays, ineffective work. And so, I’ve learned that say yes. If somebody asks you something, say yes. Your world expands that way. Opportunities present themselves that way. Ask for help, be vulnerable. And the base foundation of all of that, of course, is relationships, be it personal, which I’ve been blessed in that world, and partners and team and trades and clients. You know, we’re ethereal. We’re experts in construction management. I don’t produce a widget. We are, essentially, like I said, producer directors and so we rely so heavily on good communication, on talented trades, on processes and procedures. So, to be excellent at that means that the deliverable at the end is going to be as expected or darn close to it because I think there’s a lot that goes into getting a project from concept to punch list and complete. And I want an unqualified cheerleading client at the end of the project. 

 

Josh Cantwell: Fantastic stuff. 

 

Ira Singer: So, that’s what I’m about. You know, I appreciate the chance to share a little bit about that. I’m a simple person and I just think that at the end of the day, relationships are the most important thing for how I’m defining my success. 

 

Josh Cantwell: Yeah. I love it, Ira. Listen, man, this has been just an absolute blast having this interview, having you on the show. Thank you so much for joining me today on Accelerated Investor. I’m sure our audience is going to want to reach out to you, especially some of the larger owner-operators especially in the Midwest. But again, Ira has a national reach. So, if you’ve got any questions about capex, construction, value-add, or new design-build, Ira, where can they reach out to you? How can they get a hold of you? 

 

Ira Singer: So, we operate three brands under the Mosaic Construction Company. So, if you go to the Mosaic Construction website, that will get you to all the work that we do in all of our construction. The easiest way to reach out to me is via email ira@mosaicconstruction.net. If you can put that up to your listeners at the end of the show, that would be terrific. I would say this that a phone call from the number on the website and email, those are free. I am a resource. I want to help. It’s how I was raised. I can’t necessarily solve it sight unseen on a phone call and the transparency of the answer, the want-to-help mentality will hopefully maybe allow for a next step that brings me out to the site to really insert me into some leadership to help your listeners make the best decisions on their spend for construction renovation. 

 

Josh Cantwell: I love it. Ira, listen, this has been fantastic. I had an absolute blast with this interview. Thank you so much for joining me today on Accelerated Real Estate Investor. 

 

Ira Singer: I’m so grateful to have a chance to discuss it. And thank you for inviting me on to the show. 

 

[CLOSING]


Josh Cantwell: Well, hey, I hope you enjoyed that interview with me and Ira from Mosaic Construction. I had a blast interviewing him. Matter of fact, I had such a blast interviewing him that he and I have scheduled a one-on-one Zoom call to potentially look at having Ira bid on some of our projects, some of our properties. We have a 210-unit that we’re looking to get under contract, a 220-unit that we just bought, and multiple other properties in my backyard in the Ohio market, as well as other properties all over the country. Again, we own now over 3,500 units. I’m always looking to make relationships. So frankly, this podcast that you listen to is a tool. It’s a resource for me to meet new people like Ira that I can use in my own business to build relationships. So, the podcast for me is a launching pad. It’s a platform not just to bring amazing content to people like you, but for me to interview and meet new people like Ira that can actually have a direct impact on my personal portfolio. So, I hope you enjoyed that interview. If you did, leave us a five-star rating and review wherever you see your podcast, wherever you get your podcasts. And don’t forget to hit the subscribe button so you never miss another episode of Accelerated Real Estate Investor. We’ll talk to you next time. Take care.

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