The Fastest Way To Build A Six Or Even… Seven Figure Real Estate EMPIRE!
If there’s one thing I love about what I get to do every day, it’s speaking to other real estate investors and medical professionals who have already helped so many others and want to use their success to give back and help others. And this is one of those episodes where today’s guest is doing precisely that.
Jason Balara is the CEO and co-founder of Lark Capital Group. His focus has primarily been on B-class and C-class value-add multifamily deals in the southeast, and he’s also added commercial real estate assets to his portfolio of over 600 multifamily units and 400+ units of self-storage. He’s also a veterinary surgeon with a passion for real estate and the host of the Know Your Why podcast.
In our conversation, you’ll hear about his new passion project of creating his first fund to combine real estate opportunities for limited partners and give back to other veterinarians and help them achieve financial freedom. Jason also shares important questions that LPs should be asking sponsors and syndicators to de-risk their deals, and we’ll also talk about some of the challenges that investors are facing in a market where deal flow is slower than last year.
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Key Takeaways with Jason Balara
- Why Jason is creating his very first fund with the combination of multifamily, self-storage, and buying distressed businesses.
- The shockingly high suicide rate among veterinarians and the impact that Jason is hoping to make with charitable work for his fellow vets.
- How challenging 2023 has been for real estate investors as deal flow has slowed since last year.
- Why the interest rate for your deal doesn’t really matter as long as you understand what the interest rate is.
- Strategies to de-risk your investments as a limited partner.
- The questions that limited partners should be asking themselves right now to be successful in today’s market.
Jason Balara Tweetables
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Connect with Josh Cantwell
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Josh Cantwell: So, hey, guys, welcome back to Accelerated Investor. Hey, I’m your host, Josh Cantwell. Today, I have a great interview for you. My guest is a gentleman named Jason Balara. He’s the CEO and co-founder of Lark Capital Group. His focus is on B-class and C-class value-add multifamily deals, primarily in the Southeast in areas like Mississippi and Atlanta. He was previously a single-home investor and contractor. But today, he actually is a veterinary surgeon and he invests in multifamily and self-storage on the side in addition to his veterinary surgeon day-to-day kind of thing.
Lark Capital is currently invested in over 600 multifamily units outside of Atlanta, as well as a student housing development deal in Maryland. They also own 400 units of self-storage in Mississippi. His website is LarkCapital.com. And today, you’re going to learn, number one, about Jason’s next venture, which is a fund structure with the combination of multifamily, self-storage, and buying distressed businesses. Number two, you’re going to learn why the interest rate doesn’t really matter as long as you know what the rate is. Number three, you’re going to learn how to de-risk your investments as a limited partner. And number four, you’re going to learn why limited partner investing is not always passive. You’re going to really enjoy this interview with Jason on Accelerated Investor. Here we go.
Josh Cantwell: So, hey, Jason, listen, welcome to the show. I’m so excited to have you on, to talk a little bit more about multifamily and storage investing and limited partnerships and some of the things that are going on in the marketplace. So, thanks for carving out a few minutes for us.
Jason Balara: Yeah, I’m very excited. Thanks for having me on, Josh.
Josh Cantwell: Yeah, absolutely, Jason. So, listen, as we kind of introduce you to the audience a little bit better, I would love to hear what your passion projects are right now, what you’re working on today, like literally things that you would be working on this afternoon or tomorrow or next week or some things that you’re excited about in today’s market that you personally got your hands into.
Jason Balara: Yeah, it’s actually sort of ideal timing because I’m in the very beginning stages of creating my first fund. And so, I’m pretty excited about this. We’ve done a handful of syndications at this point, as you mentioned, in multifamily and self-storage with the fund. What I’m kind of excited about is sort of putting real estate and also businesses within that fund. For a couple of different reasons, we can talk about it if you want, but ultimately, my background as a veterinarian, the way I see this fund going is there is obviously a lot of opportunity in real estate for limited partners. And I’d like to reach out to as many veterinarians and provide them with financial freedom as I can.
But I would also love this fund to have a component of charity and that we give back to– there’s an organization called Not One More Vet. And what that is, is because veterinarians have the highest suicide rate of all professions. And so, they’re so much so that there’s an actual organization based on that being a problem. And so, what I’d like to do is sort of incorporate that Not One More Vet philosophy in helping vets. And I think that by helping vets, we help more animals, which is what all vets kind of go into veterinary medicine for. So, I’m actually super stoked about it. It is something that’s very much in the beginning stages, but maybe by the time this releases, it’ll be actually out there and available to people.
Josh Cantwell: Nice. So, I’ve got to go back on that just a little bit. Jason, speaking of that, why do you think that is? What do you think’s going on with the mental health thereof vets, your insight into that profession?
Jason Balara: Yeah, there’s a couple of reasons that I think are, first and foremost, I guess, in terms of what sort of impacts this. And I do think, unfortunately, financial constraints are a big part of it. There’s a very, very high student debt load among veterinarians. So, a lot of my colleagues, and I’ve been out of school for a while now, but a lot of the people coming out of vet school now are coming out with multiple hundreds of thousands of dollars in student debt.
And so, you’re starting off your young career, which ultimately was really for most vets, it’s a passion thing, right? So, they want to help animals. And so, they’re coming out of this schooling that they just spent at least eight years between college and vet school. And now, they have $200,000, $300,000, sometimes $400,000 in school debt that they’re faced with. And so, repaying that, I think, is a big burden.
And then, the flip side of that is, unfortunately, they come into good salaries, but they’re not making millions of dollars a year that make sort of paying those debts back. So, balancing that kind of financial impact that they have from day one in their careers, and then also probably a lot of people outside of the industry don’t know this, but when the pandemic hit, a lot of us thought that our caseload, our workload was going to go down. And what actually happened is it doubled.
And so, I think all the people staying home decided to go out and get another pet. It sounds ridiculous, but it’s kind of the only explanation for why the number of cases went up so rapidly, so quickly, and ultimately, the industry doesn’t have the people to support it. And although the suicide issue is not new, at this point, there is a tremendous amount of understaffing, both from the veterinary side of things and the technician side of it. So, it’s a huge problem and I don’t think there’s a single solution. I think there’s a lot of things that need to be done to sort of help address this.
But my thought, like I said, with this is, is I can give back essentially twofold by allowing veterinarians, encouraging veterinarians, and educating them on this to invest into these deals and into this fund. And then also, if we create, carve out some percentage of those profits are going to go back to the Not One More Veterinary foundation or some other charitable capacity, we can really make an impact on both sides. And so, I think it’s, and like I said, vets become vets because they want to help animals. And I think if we can help more vets, we can actually help more animals. And I think it’ll trickle down.
Josh Cantwell: I love that. I love the way you wrap that all together with your kind of personal mission. So, that’s exciting. Let me peel back the structure on the fund a little bit. How do you anticipate the fund to be structured? Just full disclosure, this is not a solicitation to– I just want to get out of the way. We’re doing this for educational purposes. Jason’s going to talk about the possible fund structure.
So, you mentioned investing in real estate, multifamily, self-storage, being a part of it, investing in businesses. Tell me a little bit more about that. How do you anticipate the structure to look? What percentage of multifamily and self-storage and businesses do you think will go in there? And do you think it’ll create any challenges for actually kind of projecting a return for the fund when you have a mixture of different asset classes in the same fund? Tell me about that.
Jason Balara: Yeah, yeah, great question. And I’ll sort of start this by saying, as I mentioned, I’m in the early stages of this, so the exact structure I’m still working out because I want to make it as advantageous as I can as possible. One of the things I’m even thinking about is, as I said, some of this, I want it to have a charitable component to it. Well, there are tax benefits to charities and charitable contributions. So, is there a way I can pass that on to the investors? Aside from the sort of normal tax benefits of real estate, I think that there may be a way to kind of work that in.
But ultimately, like I said, I want to bring businesses into it and I want to bring real estate. And there’s a reason why I want to mix the two, ultimately. And I think, probably, a lot of people in the real estate space right now and who knows if this will change, but with some of the challenges in the market, the cash flow in real estate is maybe not as good as it was three years ago, five years ago, ten years ago.
So, I think cash flow has become a little bit of a challenge if you want to invest in the sort of growth and higher appreciation markets which a lot of the major cities are. And so, my thought process is businesses. We can bring in some high cash-flowing businesses that tend to cash flow even higher than real estate to essentially account for the cash flow portion, the cash flow returns of this fund. And then if they happen to appreciate as we grow those businesses, that’s great. It only adds on to those returns for the investors. But then we bring real estate into it for the appreciation and the tax benefits, as I mentioned before.
So, the idea to me is we can combine because the reason I thought about this is I just started thinking about it for my own portfolio. I was like, “Okay, well, I’ve got real estate. I’ve got my own business. I’ve got my own veterinary surgery business. My veterinary surgery business is where my cash flow is coming from right now.” The real estate side of things, it’s a little bit tight on cash flow. And again, you could get into markets where you might have a higher cash flow real estate, but there are things about it that make it challenging right now with rates.
And so, my idea is, okay, if I want to do that for myself, why would I not want to do that for my investors and sort of build that into the fund? And you asked the question about percentages on that, Josh, and it’s actually the SEC sort of tells me what I can have there in some ways. Ultimately, the thought process or the rule is that I won’t have more than 20% of the fund allocated towards businesses. And again, that’s SEC driven, but I actually think that works out pretty well because just again, still in the beginning stages, but if you throw numbers out there and you’re looking at, say, a $10 million fund, you can probably purchase $30 to $50 million of assets if you combine the two because typically, you can get into a business with a lower down payment than you might on real estate.
So, I’m just looking at it from a– what would I want to do for my own portfolio? How can I bring that out to investors? And what makes the math work the best so that we can hopefully get kind of the best of both worlds, or not even both worlds, cash flow appreciation and tax benefits?
Josh Cantwell: Yeah, I love it. I love it. So, Jason, when you look at that opportunity for upside and there’s going to be businesses that are a little bit distressed, there’s going to be real estate that’s distressed coming up in the next one to three years. You guys have 600-plus units of multifamily, 400-plus units of self-storage. You’ve got your veterinary surgery business. So, you’re very involved in all these niches already. What about the market right now concerns you? What do you think? And that concern often will turn into an opportunity, right?
So, what about that? Do you think the overall market concerns you, as there are certain markets that concern you or certain things that concern you about the market that our audience should be aware of from your perspective that are things to look out for? And then does that turn into opportunity on the back side? Tell us about that from your perspective.
Jason Balara: Yeah, and I think you put it exactly right. The challenges, the concerns that we have right now are going to create those opportunities in the future if we’re prepared for them. So, for me, that’s a big part of why I’m thinking about doing the fund now. So, the real estate deal flow is down. I think it’s down for us. I think it’s probably down for everybody. I’ve talked to a lot of…
Josh Cantwell: From a year ago, it’s down 74%, right?
Jason Balara: Right.
Josh Cantwell: So, got a thousand transactions that were done in Q1 of 2022. There were only 260 transactions down 74%, 260 transactions that were done this year. I think a lot of people are sitting around waiting to see what happens with transaction volume definitely down, just to add some context to what you’re saying there. So, go ahead.
Jason Balara: Yeah. And so, the point being, eventually, the market’s going to stabilize. Now, does that mean the rates are going to go back to 2% and 3%? I don’t know. Maybe. Probably not. Who knows? But we don’t necessarily need that to happen. We need the market to stabilize so people know what to expect, what to put into their underwriting. And that’s really what’s holding up deals right now is it’s like, okay, the rates just kept going up.
And you asked about quests or challenges. That’s one of them is we just had the fastest and greatest interest rate hikes in the history of interest rates. It’s just never happened before, and so, caught a lot of people off guard, scared a lot of people. I think at the end of the day when you’re underwriting, the interest rate doesn’t matter as long as you know what it’s going to be because you’re putting– everybody’s just plugging numbers into a spreadsheet when they’re underwriting. And so, it’s going to be if the interest rate is 3% or it’s 8%, you’re still just putting a number in that spot on the interest rate.
What became a challenge and what is likely to create these opportunities coming up is because the market was so unstable, a lot of people, the only option they had to get their deals closed was to put in a variable rate debt, floating rate debt. And so, then that floating rate debt went up a bunch. And despite rate caps, there’s a lot of people that are at the top of their– they hit their rate cap. And so, that’s put in there as an insurance policy. But it happened so quickly that it was hard to be prepared for that.
So, that is the current challenge or the current biggest challenge, I think, that we have is that people that have existing deals with floating rate debt, are you prepared for that? What’s going to happen when the bank tells you you have to escrow for the next year’s rate cap? There are things that are happening that nobody anticipated. And one of the biggest lessons I feel like I’ve learned in this, these last few years, Josh, is that those who control the money sort of rule the roost basically. You are beholden to the lender if you have a lender on your deal like that. That’s what it is. You have to, and they can change things to protect themselves. And so, you do have to be, especially if you’re talking about bridge that if you’re looking at agency debt, it’s a little bit more, I guess, locked in and stable.
But ultimately, what’s happening is people are realizing that. And so, people are looking at long-term debt, fixed rate, lower leverage than what we were looking at a year ago. Even those thousand deals that happened in Q1 of 2022, there’s a lot of them probably that happened with bridge debt because in talking to my lender, my debt brokers, they’re like, oh, we’re doing 80%, 85% bridge debt right now. So, that’s probably where the opportunity is going to come in. I don’t want to take advantage of other people’s misfortune, but the reality is that people are going to get into situations that they hadn’t prepared for. And then some of that’s because we didn’t know, we didn’t know this was going to– it’s never happened before, so.
Josh Cantwell: Jason, if anybody, the banks, the Fed, the buyer knew that rates would go from essentially 0 to 4.5, the 10-year Treasury would go from 1.5 to 3.4, it is right now, I just looked it up while we’re talking, nobody would have bought those deals in the last year or two knowing that the rate was going to be higher, even if you underwrote and said, well, my rate and my variable rate bridge maybe started at three and a quarter and it was going to go to four and a half or five. They wouldn’t have bought that deal because it would be underwritten in a totally different way, and there’d be a different debt service coverage ratio, which means the leverage would be less, which means the price would come down. And so, it’s very much similar to the residential market in 2006 and 2007 and that people bought with ARM loans, adjustable-rate mortgages, in the residential space, but they were adjusting every year.
So, for those in our audience that don’t know, imagine getting a floating rate loan that adjusted every month and the rate went up every month and your mortgage payment went up every month. They’d go from cash flowing that 25% on your debt service coverage ratio. That’s your spread to cash flowing nothing, and then now having to escrow for future rate caps. There is going to be distress and it’s going to be a lot of workouts. It’s going to be a lot of loss mitigation. It’s going to be a basically managed sale process because a lot of those operators just won’t be able to keep those deals going forward.
The solution, which a lot of guys got away from, Jason, as you remember, we buy real estate for the long term. So, why did so many people get such short-term debt, right? All those people that did that got totally away from the fundamental of you buy the real estate and you wait, and maybe they thought, well, I want to get in. I want to get into Arizona, I want to get into Dallas and Houston. I want to get into Orlando. And I’ve got to get this debt just to get the deal. Sure. But can you manage the deal for the next 20 or 30 years and refinance and refinance and refinance every 7 to 10 years or 5 to 10 years as your term comes due? And was like, no, I just got two-year fixed rate with a rate cap, and man, they’re just going to totally get creamed. A lot of those guys will be out.
So, what I’m predicting, Jason, I’d like to hear your take on this is just like in ’08 with the residential space, I don’t think our residential market is in trouble at all right now. Zero, in my opinion. Rates have continued to go up for the past year and people are still buying because there’s no inventory. I personally feel like residential is in trouble at all. I’d like to hear your take on that in a second.
Then, number two, on the commercial side, I do think there’s a major recalibration reset that’s going to happen because if you look at ‘08, ’09, or 2010 until COVID, commercial rates were like the middle fives, interest rates. Now, we’re like the middle fives right now. That’s pretty normal. So, rates didn’t drop down to zero. They only dropped down because of the Great Recession. They only dropped down because of COVID, right? And so, we should be at where we’re at right now at about five and a half on a permanent loan, or maybe a little over five and a half on bank debt. And bridge money should cost 7%, 8%. That’s where it should be. That’s what we’re at right now. It’s where it should have been the whole time. What’s your take, first of all, Jason, on the resi market? If you want to come in on that real quick, and then what’s your response to my comment I just made?
Jason Balara: Yeah, I agree 100% on residential. The demand is– it’s a supply and demand issue, right? I mean, I’m not an economist, but I think this in a way applies to all of the inflation that we’re experiencing and that we’re trying to get that inflation back down. But at the end of the day, I don’t know that increasing interest rates does away with the supply and demand issues that we have in many industries, not just in housing. So, it’s kind of– I don’t know, again, not an economist, I don’t know these things, I don’t know exactly how it all works, but I don’t see interest rate hikes as the thing that fixes the problem. It just creates a different problem. So, who knows?
But I agree with you, too, on the commercial side, that we’re probably now at the point where it’s meant to be or where it sort of whatever normal is, that’s about where it is. And as I said before, it doesn’t really matter what the rate is unless that’s what you’re driving your deal on. Like you said, we’re still looking at long-term stabilized debt with not getting crazy on the leverage, which is what happened. And you’re right, to get a deal, you kind of had to do it. It was the only way to get in there.
And so, you’re still just putting a number in a spot on that underwriting spreadsheet. And so, people made plenty of money in real estate 5 years ago, 10 years ago, 30 years ago. That’s a place to put money and make money, but what I think some people got used to is over the last three years, whatever, five years, people made crazy money in a short period of time just based on the market changes that happened and they didn’t actually have to do anything.
Josh Cantwell: Nobody was an investing genius. The market kind of took them for a ride and the guys have enough to buy at the right time, and then two years later, resell and make $4 million. Trust me, dude, that if you did that, you weren’t a genius, right? You just got lucky, really.
Jason Balara: You got lucky, and good for you, taking advantage of the opportunity, I don’t have anything, like, no problem. Great. People made some money. That’s good. Investors made money more importantly, like, the people– but I don’t think there’s a lot of talk about track record and stuff like that in business. If you really want to look at people’s track record, you’ve got to look at the guys that have been doing it for 10 or 20 years because the people that have a track record over the last three years, five years, does it mean a whole– you know what I mean? Again, it’s like you didn’t have to try that hard to have your values go up so much. I mean, it’s great. It’s great for the investors that got on that ride, but now, we have to actually manage and be good at asset management and watch that debt and everything.
Josh Cantwell: Yeah, Jason, so let me ask you about that, going forward, if you’re a limited partner and you are looking at deals that are brought by a sponsor, by a general partner, what kind of advice or what kind of things do you think they should be doing from a limited partner perspective to make sure that they’re really comfortable with their investment? They know that there’s a risk. Everybody knows that there’s risk. They could lose money. They could lose all their money. But what should they be double-checking? What should they be doing with underwriting to verify what a general partner or a sponsor is bringing to them? Because like you said, going forward, it is truly going to not be about just low rates pushing up the values, it’s going to be about asset management and actually executing on your business plan. And so, what can a limited partner do or what do you think limited partners should be looking for going forward to make sure that they’re limiting and de-risking their business?
Jason Balara: I think, you have to look at a couple of things. There are almost two classes of limited partners, if you will, in the sense that there are people that are family offices, institutional money, like really, people that have been doing this for a long time, very savvy and sophisticated. They’re going to have either their own team or they’re going to be able to actually underwrite those deals. So, those people should continue to do that. They’ve probably been doing it that I think the people that need the help or we need to speak to are the more like retail type LPs.
And I would say, tell me if you disagree, but I would say most of them don’t know how to underwrite a deal. And so, what they really have to do is they have to make sure that they know and trust that sponsor. And I think, I mentioned track record and I didn’t mean to say that track record is not important, but you actually really need to put that in perspective. And so, I think the questions that an LP should be asking now probably is when you talk to a prospective sponsor that you’re going to invest with is what problems did you have, what challenges have you run into, and how did you address that? Because that’s where you’re going to see the people that are actually equipped to go through the downturns in markets.
Now, we might come out of this market cycle and have another five or ten-year runup, who knows? And it’ll make more people very wealthy and great. But I think, like I said, track record for me now is going to be based on how did you handle the challenges. Was that sponsor willing to put their own money on the line? Get in there and do whatever it took to make the deal carry through the challenges, I think, is really an important part of it, because I think telling LPs, oh, you need to learn to underwrite, it’s probably going to be a hard thing. The whole reason they’re LPs is so they don’t have to do that stuff. It’s so that they can keep doing their jobs that they’re already making money and then have their money make money.
Josh Cantwell: Right. Agreed. So, Jason, you’ve made the leap from veterinary surgery into commercial multifamily, 600 units, self-storage. How did you make that pivot? Or how did you add that to your investments? How did you add that to your business? Because there’s a lot of guys who are busy, whether it’s a doctor, whether it’s in sales, whether it’s a vet, whether it’s an e-commerce, whether it’s a nurse, teacher, whatever, and they’re like, I just don’t have the time or I don’t have the knowledge. What was the first couple of steps that you took to really get into commercial investing when you’re already a busy and successful veterinary surgeon?
Jason Balara: Yeah. Ironically, I got into it because I thought it was going to be passive. And I guess I could have just invested passively. So, my background, even before I went to vet school, I’ve been in construction since I was like 15. So, I was either going to be a vet or I was going to be a builder or something like that. I mean, those were really, for me, the two options in life.
And this is a silly reason, but I was from Massachusetts, I was born in the cold and I was like, I don’t want to be outside all winter. Like, really, at that stage in life, at that age, that’s really kind of a big part of the decision making for me. And it was like I loved animals and I wanted to help animals. So, I went the veterinary route, but I never left construction. It was always on the residential side for the most part. I was working on my own houses. I worked for contractors. I worked for an electrician at one point, like, I pretty much can build a house myself.
But then, go back a few years, my first child, my son was born in 2019. He was a year-old right before the pandemic started. And in conjunction with that major life milestone, also, we finished the renovation on the house we live in right now. And so, all of a sudden, I was kind of like, what am I going to do with myself now? Like, which is silly. It’s not like I needed more things to do, but I was kind of like, what can I do that makes it– that I can get more serious as a real estate investor and also still spend more time with my family?
So, that’s what brought me to kind of commercial real estate and syndication because I knew I could flip houses. I was like, I know I can do that. But I was like, I know I’m that kind of DIY personality, I’ll be there all the time. Someday, I’m going to do that with my kids because I think it’s fun. But I didn’t want it to create another job. And so, I went into commercial because I thought that it would be more passive. Turns out it’s not, but it at least allows me to work from home, be around my kids. I don’t have to be in the OR to do real estate.
Josh Cantwell: Why do you say it’s not passive? Like what happened? What changed?
Jason Balara: I mean, because I’m the asset manager. So, I did a mentorship when I started, and a lot of the programs, the coaching programs, the mentorships, a lot of them are focused around either acquisitions or capital raising. There’s not a lot of them that really focus on the asset management afterwards. But to be honest with you, that’s when the real work starts and so…
Josh Cantwell: That’s actually money that’s in the pro forma.
Jason Balara: Right. Exactly right, yeah. Now, you actually have to make it come true, what you told everybody was going to happen. And so, it takes a lot of time. Like I said, we talked about it already, in the previous three years, maybe you didn’t have to pay that much attention because rents were just going up and demand was super high.
But now, there are factors that are impacting the performance of these assets. And so, you’ve really got to be involved on the day to day. And again, I’m managing the managers. I invest mainly in Atlanta. I don’t live in Atlanta. These are things I can do from my office, from my phone. And so, it works and that I can kind of fit everything in the day and still be around my family. So, it’s kind of I like it. I enjoy it. I enjoy the asset management. I enjoy the challenge of kind of making those numbers come true. So, that’s where I say, it’s not as passive as I thought. I also invest passively, and my sort of long-term, maybe five, ten-year plan is that I will have enough invested passively that I work because I want to and sort of work optional at that point.
Josh Cantwell: Yeah. There you go. And so, Jason, last question is really around your journey and advice. Now that we see some of the upside and the downside of this coming market and some of the mistakes that were made of just focusing on buying the asset and some of the things that you did while with jumping in as a limited partner but then taking over asset management, along that journey over the last several years, what do you think you did right? What went in your favor, and then what maybe didn’t go right or maybe what even went right that you think you learned from and you would do differently? So, what went well? What do you think you’d redo? And what do you think you’d do differently based on what you learned along these last several years of investing, both as an active investor, limited partner, asset manager?
Jason Balara: Yeah. I think what I’ve done well is, I guess, gotten around the right people. Mentorship has been huge for me, and I think just pushing myself outside of my comfort zone has been a big part of it and that when I sort of made that– I haven’t completely transitioned, I’m still a veterinary surgeon, I still do that, but I when I kind of made that move, there was a lot of figuring out my identity, mindset-type stuff that was a little bit hard to wrap my head around, but I just kept pushing it. I’m like, what do I really need to do to make sure that I can be doing the right things and also make if I’m going to be a syndicator, I’m taking other people’s money and the steward for other people’s money? I need to make sure that I’m ready to do that and whatever it takes to make them, to do what I promised, basically. And so, I think I’ve done those things well.
Certainly, there’s been mistakes made, but I tend to pride myself on I don’t make the same mistake twice. So, I see everything as a learning lesson. People in this business know that there are hard days. And I guess, that flip side of the question is one of the hardest. I think, last year, I guess I’ll use sort of a “failure” as the example here, but last year, and I’m sure this was true for a lot of people, things were going really good, right? We were closing deals, more deals were getting put in front of me. Brokers were calling me, like it was going really good.
And I think I got a little bit caught up in growing too fast. And because of that, I had a deal under contract, and again, you could argue if this is good or bad, I had a deal under contract as the interest rate hikes began, and ultimately, the rates went up so much during that sort of due diligence phase that I had to back out of the deal and I lost a bunch of money on my earnest money deposit. And so, that was a hard thing to go through. And I have tried to take that and learn as many things as I possibly can out of it.
And some of the things we’ve talked about here in terms of what type of debt are you going to put in place in it? But I think the biggest thing about that experience was I also learned where the support system was. So, in terms of advice to other people, you need to build that network of support system around you in both personally and professionally in the sense that when I was going through this and I reached out to my mentors as what do I do here, the things that they were willing to do to help and try to help was just remarkable to me. So, I think it was kind of an eye-opening experience. I don’t wish I lost all that money, it wasn’t investor money. So, there’s that. So, I’m using it as the learning experience since I’m past the point of sadness and dark rooms, that kind of stage. But yeah, it’s definitely a lot to be learned.
Josh Cantwell: Love it. Love it. Jason, listen, I appreciate you jumping on and carving out some time for us today. I know you’re busy. It looks like you’re in your scrubs, probably heading into the OR here.
Jason Balara: Surgery after this, yeah.
Josh Cantwell: Guys, you can learn more about Jason and his firm, Lark Capital at LarkCapital.com. He’s also very active on Instagram at Instagram.com/LarkCapital. And finally, Jason has an amazing podcast called Know Your Why Podcast. So, check those out. Follow Jason everywhere you can. Jason, thanks a lot for being here today on Accelerated Investor.
Jason Balara: Yeah, thanks, Josh. This was awesome. I really appreciate you having me.
Josh Cantwell: Well, there you have it, guys. Listen, Jason is a great guest. I love having successful people on who have kind of a day job or own a business, like Jason does, but also are very active investors. It just proves to me that you can do it, too, right? Whatever you’re doing, whatever you’re busy with, whether it’s sales, whether it’s a family, whether it’s being a mom, whether it’s being a nurse, a librarian, whatever you do, there’s always time to get involved in commercial real estate – multifamily, self-storage, residential assisted living. If a guy like Jason with his practice of being a veterinary surgeon can find time, so can you.
If you enjoyed this episode, guys, don’t forget to like, subscribe, rate, review. I would be so grateful if you could share this all over social media. And then, as Jason mentioned, look, when he started to get in trouble on that one deal and he lost some earnest money, but he went to his mentors, he went to his mastermind, he went to the people that he trusted and said, “Hey, look, what should I do?” Jason was involved in a mastermind and mentoring program to be able to kind of pull the parachute and back out of that deal, and that made the most sense.
If you do not have a mastermind group, a mentorship program, or a partnership program, you should apply for our Forever Passive Income Mastermind program. You should jump in and be a part of that. You can apply at JoshCantwellCoaching.com, and also, we’ll be hosting our next Forever Passive Income Live event, which is a three-day virtual event on Zoom where I teach all the fundamental strategies that’s helped me accumulate over 4,500 units of apartments. You can get a ticket to that event for a few hundred bucks. Go to ForeverPassiveIncome.com. I can’t wait to see you on the next episode. We’ll see you next time.