Learn to generate wealth through real estate investing as Mark Frentz reveals to The REITE Club the secrets to his success.
TRC: When did you get involved in real estate investing?
Mark: I purchased my first property in 1997, when I was 19 years old. But I didn't really get back into investing until I came back from China after about a decade, in 2011.
TRC: Nineteen. Wow! Why did you get involved in real estate investing, and why at 19?
Mark: To be honest, I didn't really have a clue what I was doing! I had heard that it was a good idea. As I became more sophisticated in my understanding of real estate, I saw real estate as a gateway for any normal person to become wealthy. That cannot be said of many things in this world, but it can be said of real estate investing - that an average person can become very wealthy with it. It's more about skill set than it is about what you've been given in life.
TRC: How did you start and what strategy did you use?
Mark: I experimented with a lot of things. I was buying duplexes, doing a lot of short-term strategies, like assignments, wholesale deals, and rent to own. I was flipping properties...I was simply trying to make money at the time.
TRC: What strategy are you using now?
Mark: That's completely changed. Right now, I'm buying multi-residential, usually over 20 units. Or commercial, either office space or industrial space.
TRC: How are things going right now in your real estate investing?
Mark: Things are going well. I'm closing another commercial office space this month, and then in about six weeks, we're closing another 55-unit building in Red Deer.
TRC: Are most of your investments in your province of Alberta?
Mark: We're buying one in Saskatchewan right now. The other one is in Alberta. We like Alberta and Saskatchewan. There's so many long-term advantages that we see. But we're open to buying anywhere in Canada, or the U.S. or internationally. It just needs to be the right way.
TRC: What has worked well for you? What are you happy with?
Mark: I've thought a lot about this. I would say two things: First is my network. To me, my network has become everything. I can clearly see how knowing the right people has made all the difference. Of course, in order to build a network, we need to build skills, communication skills and high integrity. And second, thinking long-term instead of short-term.
TRC: What would you do differently, or not at all?
Mark: In the beginning, the most difficult thing was that I had a full-time job and was trying to build a real estate portfolio. It wasn't until I jumped in the deep end of the pool with both feet that I started growing things significantly. And I think that's what I would do differently, I would have really jumped in with everything that I’ve got sooner.
TRC: If you were talking to someone who's just getting started, what advice would you give them?
Mark: Four things come to mind. First, I would recommend they hire a great coach rather than simply somebody who has been successful. So for example, you don’t want to hire Tiger Woods to teach you to play golf. You want to hire Tiger Woods’ coach. Or Wayne Gretzky was great, but not as a coach.
The second thing would be to spend as much time with the right people as possible. So again, this comes back to your network. Be intentional, always offer more value than you receive.
The third thing would be to jump in with both feet. Commit everything. Nobody can learn to swim with one foot in the water.
And the last thing would be to reverse engineer your goals to make sure that you have the end in mind. I meet so many people who are going slowly along and planning out their day. We need to plan out the next decade, or two, or three. And when we do that, we know what we need to do today.
TRC: There also has to be some flexibility there.
Mark: I agree completely. If we're not flexible we cannot take advantage of the deals that come our way, because we don't know when they’ll come.
TRC: One last word of advice and wisdom to anyone involved in real estate investing.
Mark: I would say we have two choices. If we want to accomplish a lot in life, we either need to do it ourselves (which is extremely difficult), or we can join great people for the ride. And I would say the second option is probably the best bet. Join with the right people instead of trying to do everything yourself. How many trades guys actually become great at a huge business? Not very many. It’s difficult. Bring your skill set to a kind of round table of other knights and you'll be better off.