109. From NFL Linebacker To Tackling Commercial Real Estate: Overcoming Limiting Beliefs With Garrett McIntyre

PILF 110 | Overcoming Limiting Beliefs


In this episode, Garrett McIntyre, the Head of Acquisitions at Rize Equity, delves into overcoming limiting beliefs many real estate investors face in the industry. To be an entrepreneur is about having confidence and knowing what you are doing and then finding the right people. Building a team of people you trust is paramount as Garrett explains “people-first” and finding people that align with you as one of the most important components in finding successful deals and maintaining an investing business. If you can put the right team and partners around you each doing their part you can scale your business while also having a W2. Don’t let those limiting beliefs hold you back. Dive into this episode now!

Connect with Jim Pfeifer in LinkedIn.

Listen to the podcast here

From NFL Linebacker To Tackling Commercial Real Estate: Overcoming Limiting Beliefs With Garrett McIntyre

I’m excited to have Garrett McIntyre with us. He’s the Head of Acquisitions at RIZE Equity. RIZE has about $10 million in commercial real estate under management and went full cycle with their first deal in 2022. Garrett, welcome to the show.

Thank you. I’m excited to be here.

The first question I always ask is about your journey. Can you talk to us about what you were doing? How did you get into finance? How did you get into real estate? How did you end up being an operator-syndicator?

I have to go back a little bit and give you a little background on myself. Before my W-2 life and where I am now, I played football my whole life throughout high school all the way through college. I was lucky enough to play professionally for seven years after college. I say that because when I made it back to the NFL, that was the start of my financial journey because I made some money. I made the League minimum for the three seasons that I played for the New York Jets. It was the most money I ever made. It was an amazing experience. Pretty quickly, you have a nice bank account, and you start getting calls from money managers. That was my first intro.

I knew a little bit about real estate. My mom was a real estate agent. My dad was in building. There was a slight background. My mom had a couple of rentals but I was not financially educated. I knew that I needed to save my money and maybe invest money but I didn’t know the vehicles. I hired a money manager. He’s a great guy. I trusted him. He put all my money into the stock market. I diversified my portfolio, as they all like to say. I realized after leaving the NFL that he was giving me some okay returns but I had no control. Frankly where he was putting my money was in things I could do myself i.e. low-fee index funds.

I posed the question to him one time and said, “You’re managing my money. You’re putting it in index funds. Can I do that?” He was like, “You can.” That was a light bulb moment. He was like, “To be honest with you, guys like yourself who are self-educated can do this themselves. I always say, ‘Do it.'” Unfortunately, he was with Merrill Lynch. They forced my hand in charging the 1% fee. I said, “I understand that. That’s your job but with all due respect, I’m going to take my money and go my way with it.” He was okay with that.

I joined the fire service after I left football. I was looking for stability. When I got to the fire service, I was working with a gentleman. We started talking about real estate investing because I was always interested. He said, “Have you ever read Rich Dad Poor Dad?” I said, “No, sir. What’s that?” I read that book in about three days because I was fascinated by it. I had all real-life examples of the rich dad and the poor dad. It struck home for me. It’s a total mindset shift pretty much from that day forward. It was like, “Have you ever listened to BiggerPockets? Have you listened to this? Have you listened to that? Check out this book.” It’s self-education on that part of it.

I fell in love with real estate. That was the start of my journey of taking hold of my finances and realizing that there’s more out there than the stock market index funds. There is this wonderful asset class of real estate. It’s so diversified in real estate as we know. There are so many different places you can make money and put your money. That was the start. I did a few passive investments with some local operators. They did well with them. I wanted to become an active investor. I started with a fourplex in St. Louis with an old friend of mine. I did a single family out in St. Louis, Missouri, and then jumped into a 30-unit. I’m all active. That was the start of my investing journey.

I have a couple of questions that I want to dig into there. When you’re in the NFL, you’re making good money. Even if you’re at the League minimum, that’s good money. You found a money manager. You said a bunch of people was calling you. Part of the challenge for all investors is to find trusted partners. We don’t have a whole lot of NFL players in our community but we have a lot of high-net-worth or high-W-2 people. We have doctors and lawyers. They’re getting those same calls. When you got those calls, how did you vet your money manager and find the one that you came to trust? It seems like he treated you pretty well, saying, “You can do this on your own.” How did you find him?

He did. I had 3 or 4 to choose from. There was something about this gentleman. His name is Brian Roland. I’ll put his name out there. He was great. He still is working for Merrill Lynch. It was a trust thing more than anything. I’m sure we will talk about this more on this episode but I’m a people-first person. He struck home with me on the people side and the trust side. He came and met with me in person. He was super quick to communicate.

If I had a question, he would fire me an email back or call me. It was a gut feeling. What I’ve learned throughout the years is if I go against that, I usually get in trouble. It was a gut feeling but it was trust. That was the biggest thing. It’s being above board on everything, quality communication, and all those things that you need when you’re entrusting somebody with your money.

You’re right about that. Communication is key because if they’re not going to communicate with you, you can’t rely on them. If you can’t rely on them, you can’t trust them. I completely agree with that. You also mentioned that in the first real estate you did before you did active, you did some passive investments. Can you talk about how you found out about passive investing? How did you select either the operators or the deals? You start like most people, you read Rich Dad Poor Dad, you find passive investing, and then you have no clue how to good investments. My first ones weren’t that great. How did you find them? How did they turn out?

It was by luck or fate. I have a background in sports and physical training. I had a gym at my home. A gentleman found me through some ad that I ran, “I’m training. I’m a former NFL guy. I help people achieve their goals.” He came and started working out with me. I found out pretty quickly he did real estate and owned a bunch of small duplexes and fourplexes. He had done some commercial development out in my market, which is Sacramento, California. I would learn from him. I would train him. I was helping him achieve his goals by losing weight or whatever he was trying to do.

While we were working out in between sets, I was asking questions about real estate development. I built some trust that way. I probably had been working out with this guy for six months. I was trying to bring him value. At the time, I didn’t know what I was doing but I was like, “I played in the NFL. I can help you raise money because I’ve got NFL buddies.” I was talking out of my butt because I didn’t have that. I was hoping that I could persuade some guys to come with me on this journey, and I did. I got a couple of investors to invest in a commercial deal out here in Sacramento.

It was supposed to be a development deal. We bought the land that had an old building in it but it was truly a location-type deal. It was in downtown Sacramento at the time. They were building the Golden 1 Center. All this redevelopment was happening in Sacramento. We knew we had a great location. We never developed it. It sat there for a year and a half doing nothing. We sold it to a developer. I got a 25% or 30% return in two years on my first deal. It was shot in the dark. It was a trusting of the people. It was people-first. I trusted this gentleman and looked at his background. It worked out.

It’s always interesting how first deals pan out because no one knows what they’re doing in their first deal. When you and I started, we didn’t have communities like Left Field Investors. I feel like there are not just Left Field Investors but other communities where people can go and get a little bit of advice before they jump in. The results are a little bit better. You’re fortunate that you had a pretty good deal for the first one. It’s contagious. You’re like, “I want more.”

We were in a bull market of all bull markets. The real estate market ran for many years. I always like to share this story. Every person that I’ve talked to that has invested in real estate said, “I wish I would have started three years prior.” People that got in two years ago are like, “I wish I would have started three years prior.” If you got in two years ago, you probably did pretty well if you knew what you were doing because of the tailwinds of the economy. We rode those. The time shifted. I used to say you could close your eyes, point your fingers around, and buy that, and it’s probably going to work out for you as long as you’re not horrible as an operator. Those days are gone. It is a more challenging market.

Those days are gone. I agree. What do you do as an investor and an operator? Personally, I’m not going to sit on the sidelines. I still have the capital to allocate. I can’t time the market. I do the Wall Street thing of dollar-cost average in real estate but what do you do as an operator when things change so quickly?

You have to be dynamic. You have to be ready to adjust. You have to be patient. We’re not a company where we only do real estate. We all have other sources of income. We tell people, “We’re not fee-based. We don’t need to do deals. We do deals because we want to do deals.” There’s a big difference there. Some people’s sole income comes from fees and getting deals transacted. We’re patient. We wait. One thing that helps me now is that in all those 5 or 6 years of trenching through doing deals, becoming active, and becoming an operator, you build confidence in knowing what is a deal.

In the beginning, I didn’t know what a deal was. I was like, “This is a deal. Let’s do it.” Now, I’m pretty confident when I look at the operator, the trailing financials, the projections, and the future cap rate. I can conservatively say, “I feel comfortable with this even with interest rates in mid-6% and even because of this.” It’s all risk analysis. Good investors get good at analyzing risks. That is the key to good operators and investors.

That goes for the active side and the passive side. As a passive investor, you need to analyze the risk of the deal and the operator of the deal, “Do they know what they’re doing? Do you trust them? Are they good people?” The list goes on and on. That’s how you can get deals done in this market. It’s having confidence, knowing what you’re doing, and then finding the right operators that do have deal flow or great background. You trust them, and they bring you a deal. You’re like, “Let’s do it.”

[bctt tweet=”To have confidence, know what you’re doing, and find the right operators with the deal flow or great background. You trust them, and they bring you a deal. That’s how you get deals done in this market.” via=”no”]

It’s interesting because you flipped on its head one of the negatives about operators. When someone isn’t full-time in real estate when they have a W-2, I’ve always said, “You’re doing this part-time. I want a full-time professional, not someone who’s doing this as a hobby,” but now, especially since the market has changed, you flipped it on its head and said, “We’re not desperate to go out and buy crappy deals because we all have other income coming in.”

That’s an interesting way to look at it, and it’s valid. It makes sense because now if you aren’t desperate, you’re not going to get yourself in trouble. Can you talk a little bit about scaling this real estate business while also having a W-2 and all the other things that come along in life? How do you do them both? You’ve told me my old paradigm of, “If they have a W-2, I might be out.” I’m like, “That’s maybe a good thing.”

Hopefully, this speaks to some of the audiences in the sense that everybody would love to scale in this business but there are those limiting beliefs of, “I have a job. How am I going to do that? I can’t be full-time.” It’s a couple of things. Number one, it’s limiting beliefs. Don’t put those beliefs on yourself. We can do anything. I can attest to that I wasn’t supposed to make it to the NFL and all these things that I’ve gone through in my life. They’re limiting beliefs. You can push past those.

The other big part of it is the team. This goes all the way back to team sports. My W-2 is a team. You have to have a team, especially when you start getting into larger deals. You want to scale in this business. If you are full-time, maybe your team doesn’t have to be as robust but if you can put the right team and partners around you, you can accomplish this by each person doing their part. You have to leverage the team. That’s huge. Mentorship is important. It’s getting the right people around you and learning how to do these deals. Don’t jump into something too big too fast. That can hurt people at times.

The last part is, “What is your W-2?” As a firefighter paramedic, I work 2 days at the fire station, and I’m off for 4. That’s my regular schedule. I have twenty days a month technically to be doing real estate. It has to play. If you’re working from 8:00 to 6:00 and you’re grinding every single day, and there is no brain space for other things, that’s difficult but I have plenty of extra brain space for real estate and time for real estate. That helps.

As do my partners, everybody has different schedules but we use that. We know that sometimes some partners won’t be on some calls but that’s okay because we trust that the guys can pick up the slack. Leveraging the team is crucial. If you’re going to scale this business, keep a family. I’m married. I have three kids. I like to be involved in my kids’ sports. I’m present when I’m at home. Time management is crucial but get those limiting beliefs out of your head that you can’t do this while you have a W-2 because it’s false.

[bctt tweet=”Leveraging the team is crucial. If you’re going to scale this business, keep a family. ” via=”no”]

I love that. You effectively also got the limiting belief out of some investors’ minds of, “I don’t want to invest with someone who’s also working their W-2,” because you brought up a valid point, and it makes sense. You structured your W-2 employment to work with your real estate or vice versa. It doesn’t matter which way. It all makes sense. That’s going through this process of analyzing and vetting sponsors. It doesn’t have to be black and white, “Garrett has another job. I’m out. I’m not even going to talk to him.” It doesn’t have to be that. Once you get to be able to tell your story, it makes complete sense, and it gives people confidence.

The most important part of this process for passive investors is vetting and trying to get to know the sponsor and figure it out. You said people-first. How do we get to that trust? How do we analyze that you’re a person I want to invest with? Can you talk about how you would vet a sponsor generally? Specifically, how would you vet a sponsor like you that has a large team of people who aren’t full-time? To be honest, that is not the standard way of doing it. It doesn’t mean it’s bad. It’s just different. How do we vet sponsors generally? How do we vet you particularly?

We do this in our business. We raise capital for other deals that aren’t necessarily ours. We’re partnering with them and bringing in capital. We have due diligence on our end to vet the sponsors. Our investors trust that we know what we’re doing. We’re good people-pickers but on a high level, you look at the deal. I’m the underwriter for the group. My job is to look at their underwriting and not the high-level underwriting. I want their full model so I can see exit assumptions, rent growth assumptions, and expense assumptions. Having gone full cycle and done some heavy rehabs in all our deals, I have a general idea of what things cost.

If something is out of the ordinary, I will ask you, “You’re going to rehab 100 units. You set $5,000 a door for 100 units. $5,000 a door doesn’t get you a lot these days. That was the standard years ago. What does the lift look like? What rehabs are you doing?” Vet the underwriting, the deal partners, and also the market. Let’s not forget about that. Is it a growth market? Is it a non-growth market? Is there a story behind the deal? That’s important to me. We could do a deal in St. Louis, Missouri. It’s not a big growth market but did we buy the deal at a discount? Was the owner in distress? Why do we think there is an upside to this deal? The deal’s story is super important.

We talk about the people. I want to have multiple conversations with these operators. If it’s a big deal and we’re placing capital on their deal, I want to visit them. I want to break bread. I want to see them face-to-face. Are they stable? We talk about stability. Are they taking their money, buying cars, partying on the weekends, and putting it on social media? Are they professionals? Sometimes I think about where they are in life. Are they married? Do they have kids? What’s important to them? What’s their why? If they’re going from a deal to deal, taking their acquisition fee, and buying a new car, that’s not stability to me because that’s going to end at some point.

If things go bad and they’ve got all these liabilities that they have to pay for, maybe they’re going to fudge the numbers on the underwriting a little bit. Maybe that exit cap is 50 basis points lower than it should be, which is going to change the returns at the investor level. They need to get the deal done because they need to get that $300,000 acquisition fee. It’s not a simple answer to that question. There are a lot of things that go into that but I will stress this, and you will hear it a bunch of times. It is people-first. Deals will come. They will go. There are always going to be deals. The people thing is huge. You have to vet the person and have that gut feeling going into it.

PILF 110 | Overcoming Limiting Beliefs
Overcoming Limiting Beliefs: Real estate is people-first. Deals will come and go. There will always be deals. The people thing is huge. You have to vet the person and have that gut feeling about it.

That’s super important, not only for choosing an operator but I’ve changed how I view professionals of all sorts. If I need an attorney, an accountant, or a financial advisor, I’m not going to the yellow pages. I’m going to my community, getting referrals, and then vetting them. I’ve finally gotten to the point that I’m not going to do business with someone that I dislike. That has to be part of it. You’re giving them a bunch of money. You want to at least like the people you’re working with.

This is the business partner side of things for your audiences that want to get on the operating active side. They say, “I’m going to go find a team.” You should build your team outright but make sure those people align with you. It goes back to that stability. Where are they in life? Do they have similar communication styles? Being an entrepreneur, especially in this business, is challenging. It’s going to beat you up and punch you in the mouth multiple times. If you’re doing business with people that you don’t like doing business with, it’s not worth it. I’ve experienced that. We have had to separate from our partners. I don’t want to go into too much but partnerships are challenging.

Through the last few years, I have found a couple of partners. These are my lifers. I want to do business with these guys for the next several years because we align so well on everything like communication. We can trust each other. It’s the ability to get their job done. Accountability is huge. Hopefully, that will strike a chord with some of your newer audiences who are hoping to build a partnership. Make sure they align with where you’re at in life. Make sure they are stable.

That’s critical. You want to align with your partners. In the easy times when you’re getting to know each other, there’s no conflict but when there’s a difficulty, that’s where you have to still be able to work together. You can’t decide, “I don’t like these guys.” Now what? You’re stuck. That’s great advice.

When you’re dating in the first six months of the relationship, everything is great. You’re going to make money. The deal looks great. The deal is going awesome. After that dating phase, that’s when you start seeing the true colors. I’ve seen it multiple times now. The people that I’ve aligned with for our company and future business have gone through the good and the bad, and it’s all good. The people that we have separated from, as soon as things get tight or there’s a little bit of conflict, start pointing fingers. There’s no accountability. We’re done. That’s it.

That’s great stuff. You were a professional athlete and are now a firefighter. Those are both pretty intense types of jobs. How does that help you? Does it relate to real estate investing? There are so many things you can do in real estate but I would imagine that being at such a high level of an athlete and then doing life-and-death stuff in the firehouse, that all has to put you in a mindset that makes you more successful or more driven. Can you talk about that a little bit?

To me, football is the greatest team sport on Earth. It teaches you at a young age how to interact with a team, which is crucial. It also teaches you accountability. We all know in football there are eleven players on the field. If one guy makes a mistake, that can be a huge play. It could be a busted play. In every single play on that field, you are trying to do your job to the best of your ability through tough times and good times. If you do that and get to that mindset, most of the time, you will be successful. The other guy on the other side of the ball gets paid too. He’s trying to beat you and impose his will against you. You have to keep going back.

How do we relate that to real estate? I talked about it. Being an entrepreneur is challenging. Nobody is forcing you to go to work. You have to do it. You have to put the work and time in. You’re going to look at deals and think you’re about to get this wonderful deal closed. All of a sudden, the seller backs out or whatever the case is. You’re going to get punched in the mouth. Do you have the grit and the determination to keep going? Real estate investing is get-rich-slow. When you get into this thing, you’re like, “I want to be financially free. I’m going to have all this cashflow coming in from all these rentals that I’m going to buy.” It takes time and effort.

Most people that don’t have grit fall off. They do one deal, something bad happens, and they never do a deal again. The grit that I learned from football and also the fire service is crucial in being an entrepreneur. Working with the team is crucial. There’s one little thing I’ll add to that. Maybe some of your audiences have heard this before. They will say, “It has to be easy for him. He had some on the NFL. He’s got a bunch of connections in the NFL. He’s got investors already. Those guys have lots of money.” To date, we have raised about $5 million in the capital. I don’t have one NFL player that has invested with me, believe it or not. That’s the limiting belief, “It will be easy for him. He’s in the NFL. He’s got money and friends that got money.”

PILF 110 | Overcoming Limiting Beliefs
Overcoming Limiting Beliefs: Most people that don’t have grit fall off. They do one deal, something bad happens, and they never do a deal again. The grit Garrett McIntyre learned from football and the fire service is crucial in being an entrepreneur.

That’s not the case. Do I want to show how important owning real estate assets are, whether active or passively, to my NFL friends and future NFL players? Absolutely. Part of my goal and my soon-to-be journey is to educate them and show them how powerful it is but they haven’t invested with me yet because they find reasons not to, or they have their money managers that say, “You should put your money in the stock market. It’s safe. Over time, it will give you a good return.” I want to throw that in there. My background helps but it’s not helping me in the fact that I’ve got a bunch of investors throwing money at me to put in real estate deals.

That’s something that we struggle with. We know that real estate is a better place to grow your wealth than the stock market. The biggest eroder of your wealth is taxes. You don’t pay taxes if you’re doing real estate. There are other reasons why real estate is so good too. Our mission is to take this and show regular people, “You can do this. It doesn’t all have to be your 401(k).” It’s a similar thing you need to do when you go to your NFL community. Your money manager, unless they have the one that you had, isn’t going to say, “Invest in real estate,” because that’s money out of their pocket.

[bctt tweet=”The biggest eroder of your wealth is taxes. You don’t pay taxes if you’re doing real estate. ” via=”no”]

That’s why you have to find these quality professionals. It is a mindset shift. People don’t understand that you don’t have to be wealthy. You don’t have to be a millionaire anymore to get into these deals. You can get into them for a lot smaller numbers. I was a financial advisor for a while trying to convince people, “Here’s the best thing for you to do.” I’m done with that. I’m willing to share all the information I have. If you want to join the ride, join. If you don’t, you don’t. It’s probably the same with your NFL guys.

Likewise. I completely agree. I’m going to show them how powerful it is. I can lead them to the water but I can’t make them drink. I have a feeling that as I start talking about the experiences I’ve had in the last few years, they’re going to want to come because it is so powerful. I’m sure your community can attest to that. Once you do and you start seeing the fruits of the labor, it’s incredible. There’s no other wealth-generating tool like real estate.

It starts with this little snowball. You invest your first $25,000. Monthly, you get $167. You’re like, “What?” Three years later, you have $10,000 in monthly cashflow. You’re like, “The snowball grew.” One of the most exciting things for new investors or any investor is when a deal goes the full cycle. I’m sure it’s the same when you’re an operator, and you have your first deal go full cycle. Can you talk to us about the good stuff, the bad stuff, and everything that happened in the deal that went full cycle for you?

I’ll try to be quick because there are tons of stories. This was the first large apartment deal I’ve done. It’s 38 units in St. Louis, Missouri. It’s a C-class asset in a C-area. We bought it from ironically a guy who lives where I work in the Bay Area. We were doing the transaction. We come to find out his home was five minutes from my station, which was some super small-world stuff.

I always tell this story. He owned the property for a year and a half. He was pretty much an owner that hired a third-party property manager. He wasn’t involved. He wanted the third-party property management to do everything. He made $500,000 in a year and a half or something. He bought it at a discount, he got rent up a little bit but he didn’t do much, and then he sold it to us.

I remember looking at that and going, “Are we making a mistake by buying this? This guy is making $500,000.” That’s a limiting belief. I want to get that out of all of your investors’ minds. Just because one person is winning doesn’t mean the other person is losing. That’s the first lesson. We took this thing over. My underwriting sucks flat out. I didn’t know what I was doing. I had ballpark ideas.

PILF 110 | Overcoming Limiting Beliefs
Overcoming Limiting Beliefs: Just because one person is winning doesn’t mean the other person is losing.

I understood what cap rates were. I could put a pro forma together. I knew there was going to be cashflow in the deal but I didn’t know how much. It was me and a partner. We went 50/50. It was a joint venture deal. We didn’t have any investors in this deal. I didn’t want to bring investors in on my first big deal because I didn’t know what I was doing yet. I was learning.

We split the money 50/50. He was a local boots-on-the-ground. I was an investor in California. He did a great job. Out of the 38 units, we turned 28 of them over. We were doing rehabs like new kitchen boxes, refinished flooring, new fixtures, and new paint. When we bought the thing, believe it or not, the rents were $430 across the board. We got them to about $650, including rubs in about two and a half years. It’s a pretty decent upside on the rents.

We had a fire at one of our units. It completely burned the unit. I had to call the firefighters across the street and ask about it. We had a property manager. We weren’t super happy with our first property manager. We went with another property manager about two years in. Within two months, we figured out he was a fraud. He ended up stealing $30,000 from us. He kept a whole month’s rent to himself. We’re still in litigation with this guy.

Many bad things happened to us in this deal. I have probably a couple of other stories. We fixed the place up. We gave this C-class asset in this affordable housing community a safe and nice place to live. Our three-year loan was coming up at the end of 2022. We were like, “It’s time for us to sell this thing and move on.” We were potentially going to refinance and hold it but because it was such a headache property, we thought it would be better to sell.

We put it on the market. We asked for a price. We were like, “If we get this, let’s sell it. It will be great.” We had a dream buyer come in. He was looking for depreciation. His son was into real estate. He was going to manage the property from a local guy. We sold it. My profit on that deal in two and a half years was about $650,000. Lots of things went wrong, and I still made the biggest paycheck I’ve ever made since I left football. Even during football, I never made that much in one season.

That’s the power. That’s why I want to talk about that. I was afraid. I didn’t know what I was doing but I wasn’t afraid to take action. You have to get punched in the mouth a few times to learn from that. You see how powerful real estate can be. I was able to take the money that I made in that, put it into another deal that we did of 138 units, scale up to the largest deal that we have ever done, and keep my money working for me, rolling, and fighting the good fight against inflation that we’re all fighting.

That’s a great story. It reminds me. I bought a 22-unit, and I didn’t have a clue what I was doing in property manager problems and a lot of the same things you were talking about. When I sold it, I made a ton of money but I sold it to someone that I knew, a buddy of mine. I knew he was going to go out and double the value within a year because he was going to do things right, and I did most things wrong.

I was still doing it wrong because the economy and everything was growing. I still made a bunch of money and sold it, knowing that in twelve months, he would double and do better but I didn’t have the patience or the expertise to do that next double. I ended up selling it. It’s interesting. That’s how it goes sometimes.

You won, and he’s going to win or he is winning. That’s the thing. People think when they’re buying a deal, “How can I win on this deal if this guy is winning?” You can. There are all sorts of creative ways to push value, lower expenses, get creative, and operate the deal better. That’s what we try to educate our investors on, “This is why we think we can double the value, triple the value, or whatever it is.”

[bctt tweet=”People think when buying a deal, “How can I win on this deal if this guy is winning?” You can. There are different creative ways to push value, lower expenses, get creative, and operate the deal better.” via=”no”]

What’s next for RIZE Equity? What’s 2023 going to look like? What are you looking at?

We’re pushing pretty hard again to start putting out more educational content. We want to educate our investors, tell our story, become more relatable on a personal level, and continue to look for deals. We like the Southeast, specifically Georgia. In and around Atlanta, we have an asset there now. It’s a super hot market. It’s very competitive. It’s hard to find deals but we’ve got some teammates looking for deals constantly even though we’re not seeing a ton of deal flow.

We are pushing hard to raise capital. We have found some strategic partners. They’ve got some good deals that we like. We have vetted the operator. We will be placing capital into their deals through a fund-to-fund type of model. Our investors interact with us. We give them all the updates. We give them their distributions. We communicate because we pride ourselves on quality and prompt communication.

We want to grow RIZE Equity into a larger commercial multifamily company that’s going to be doing deals for decades to come. It’s not going anywhere. I’ve got partners that are aligned for the next couple of decades like Matt Schambeau and Sean Cullen. Sean Cullen is active duty military. He works at the Pentagon. He is an awesome dude to be working with. On our website, he writes all our content. He’s a great writer. He’s got three Master’s. We’re trying to educate and push out good quality information to our investors as well, similar to you.

The more information, the more sharing. I love your abundance mindset where you’re going to share. We don’t have to worry about competitors. You’re putting out information. Things will land where they land. They usually land in good spots if you have that mindset. I enjoy that. The last question I always ask is this. What’s a great podcast that you listened to, real estate or otherwise? You can mention a couple if you’re a big podcast guy too.

I was a huge podcast guy, and then I scaled back. I’m doing more audible books but I’m a huge fan of Hunter Thompson’s Cash Flow Connections. We joined his mentorship program. He’s amazing. His whole community is amazing. His information is more advanced on macroeconomy and microeconomy. I get great information from him about where I’m at in my career. There are so many other good ones. Rod Khleif’s BiggerPockets is still great. There are different levels. Left Field Investors is also great.

There are so many out there. They’re important to continue to listen to and to keep you motivated. When I got done with the BiggerPockets one even though I’ve heard most of the stuff that they have done on there, I listened to this. I’m like, “That motivates me. I want to take action.” That’s what’s so powerful about podcasts.

Those are some good podcasts you mentioned. If our audiences want to get in touch with you, what’s the best way to do that?

Garrett.McIntyre@RIZEEquity.com is my personal email. I love connecting with anybody with questions and concerns. We’ve got a website, RIZEEquity.com. We have an eBook that Sean wrote on there. Maybe your investors might like it. It’s called RIZE to The Challenge. It’s a passive investor’s guide to what is real estate, how to vet operators, and how you become a good passive investor because we are also passive investors. I have lots of my capital in other people’s deals. That’s free on our website. That’s the best way to get ahold of me.

Thank you so much. This was a great conversation. I love your mindset of people-first and abundance. It’s fantastic. Thanks for being on the show. We appreciate it.

Thank you. It was a pleasure.

I enjoyed that conversation. There’s a lot of good mindset stuff and feedback on how to vet sponsors and look into all that stuff but I always jump to the mindset stuff. He said multiple times people-first. I believe that’s why our community is so great because of the people in it. You need to build trust within your community or your team.

If you have a bunch of partners when you’re not the main partner of a deal or you’re a capital raiser, you need to make sure that the partners you pick are people that you trust. You have to build that team so that when one person is not available, the other people can jump right in. I love that stuff. You have to get rid of those limiting beliefs.

That’s what Garrett did. He’s one of those guys. He has a W-2. As I said in the interview, mostly when I see someone having a W-2, and they’re also an operator, I’m like, “Why can’t you do this full-time?” He laid it out. He has another job but it’s conducive to doing real estate as well because he’s got twenty days off a month as a firefighter. That’s great. The other benefit that he showed, especially in this market, is if you’re dealing with an operator who doesn’t need fees and isn’t going to run out and find a deal because they need it to pay themselves and their staff, then it’s an advantage to have that W-2. There are pluses and minuses.

What I learned from that is I need to make sure that I’m keeping my mind open and not shutting off, “You have a W-2. I’m out. I’m not interested.” I don’t want to be that, “You’re brand new. You’ve never done a deal before as an operator. I’m never going to talk to you.” You can still build relationships and decide when to invest when it’s the right time for you but we need to be more open to all different types of operators.

I’m going to do that moving forward. I’m going to have a little bit more acceptance of something different, and just because he has a W-2 doesn’t mean I automatically need to avoid him. There are some that have W-2s. If you’re working from 9:00 to 5:00, it might be more challenging. There’s some open-your-mind type of stuff that he was talking about. I love that.

He’s talking about teams. One of the things he likes about the team is it creates accountability. When you set up your team, you have to make sure that you are in alignment with everybody and that you’re all pushing in the same direction but also that you have created accountability structures. If you’re all rowing in the same direction but no one is accountable to each other, then it’s going to fall apart at some point. Accountability is critical. I love that he mentioned that.

The favorite thing that I got from Garrett was just because one person is winning doesn’t mean the other person is losing. That’s great stuff. He pointed out that’s the deal I talked about where I sold to a buddy of mine. We both won. I made all the money I could out of that deal. I couldn’t do anymore. I sold it to him knowing that he was going to double it in another year but that was okay.

We’re both winning. That’s what you want. If you can get into more transactions where the people you are transacting with are winning and you’re winning, that’s what we want. This is a great episode. Thanks to Garrett for coming on. I’m going to keep track of these guys moving forward. That’s all we have. We will talk to you next time.


Important Links



Our sponsor, Tribevest provides the easiest way to form, fund, and manage your Investor Tribe with people you know, like, and trust. Tribevest is the Investor Tribe management platform of choice for Jim Pfeifer and the Left Field Investors’ Community.

Tribevest is a strategic partner and sponsor of Passive Investing from Left Field.

Chris Franckhauser

Vice President of Strategy & Growth, Advisory Partner

Chris Franckhauser, Vice President of Strategy & Growth, Advisory Partner for Left Field Investors, has been involved in real estate since 2008. He started with one single-family fix and flip, and he was hooked. He then scaled, completing five more over a brief period. While he enjoyed the journey and the financial tailwinds that came with each completed project, being an active investor with a W2 at the time, became too much to manage with a young and growing family. Seeing this was not easily scalable or sustainable long term, he searched for alternative ideas on where to invest. He explored other passive income streams but kept coming back to his two passions; real estate and time with his family. He discovered syndications after reconnecting with a former colleague and LFI Founder. He joined Left Field Investors in 2023 and has quickly immersed himself into the community and as a key member of our team.  

Chris earned a B.S. from The Ohio State University. After years in healthcare technology and medical devices, from startups to Fortune 15 companies, Chris shifted his efforts to consulting and owning a small apparel business when he is not working with LFI (Left Field Investors) or on his personal passive investments. A few years ago, Chris and his family left the cold life in Ohio for lake life in the Carolinas. Chris lives in Tega Cay, South Carolina with his wife and two kids. In his free time, he enjoys exploring all the things the Carolinas offer, from the beaches to the mountains and everywhere in between, volunteering at the school, coaching his kids’ sports teams and cheering on the Buckeyes from afar.  

Chris knows investing is a team sport. Being a strategic thinker and analytical by nature, the ability to collaborate with like-minded individuals in the Left Field Community and other communities is invaluable.  

Jim Pfeifer

President, Chief Executive Officer, Founder

Jim Pfeifer is one of the founders of Left Field Investors and the host of the Passive Investing from Left Field podcast. Left Field Investors is a group dedicated to educating and assisting like-minded investors negotiate the nuances of the passive investing landscape and world of syndications. Jim is a former financial advisor who became frustrated with the one-path-fits-all approach of the standard financial services industry. Jim now concentrates on investing in real assets that produce cash flow and is committed to sharing his knowledge with others who are interested in learning a different way to grow wealth.

Jim not only advises and helps people get started in passive real estate syndications, he also invests alongside them in small groups to allow for diversification among multiple investments and syndication sponsors. Jim believes the most important factor in a successful syndication is finding a sponsor that he knows, likes and trusts.

He has invested in over 100 passive syndications including apartments, mobile homes, self-storage, private lending and notes, ATM’s, commercial and industrial triple net leases, assisted living facilities and international coffee farms and cacao producers. Jim is constantly looking for new investment ideas that match his philosophy of real assets producing cash flow as well as looking for new sponsors with whom he can build quality, long-term relationships. Jim earned a degree in Finance & Marketing from the University of Oregon and a Master’s in Business Education from The Ohio State University. He has worked as a reinsurance underwriter, high school finance teacher, financial advisor and now works exclusively as a full-time passive investor. Jim lives in Dublin, Ohio with his wife, three kids and two dogs. In his free time, he loves to ski, play Ultimate frisbee and cheer on the Buckeyes.

Jim earned a degree in Finance & Marketing from the University of Oregon and a Master’s in Business Education from The Ohio State University. He has worked as a reinsurance underwriter, high school finance teacher, financial advisor and now works exclusively as a full-time passive investor. Jim lives in Dublin, Ohio with his wife, three kids and two dogs. In his free time, he loves to ski, play Ultimate frisbee and cheer on the Buckeyes.

Chad Ackerman

Chief Operating Officer, Founder

Chad is the Founder & Chief Operating Officer of Left Field Investors and the host of the LFI Spotlight podcast. Chad was in banking most of his career with a focus on data analytics, but in March of 2023 he left his W2 to become LFI’s second full time employee.

Chad always had a passion for real estate, so his analytics skills translated well into the deal analyzer side of the business. Through his training, education and networking Chad was able to align his passive investing to compliment his involvement with LFI while allowing him to grow his wealth and take steps towards financial freedom. He has appreciated the help he’s received from others along his journey which is why he is excited to host the LFI Spotlight podcast and share the experience of other investors and industry experts to assist those that are looking for education for their own journey.

Chad has a Bachelor’s Degree in Business with a Minor in Real Estate from the University of Cincinnati. He is working to educate his two teenagers in the passive investing world. In his spare time he likes to golf, kayak, and check out the local brewery scene.

Ryan Steig

Chief Financial Officer, Founder

Ryan Stieg started down the path of passive investing like many of us did, after he picked up a little purple book called Rich Dad, Poor Dad. The problem was that he did that in college and didn’t take action to start investing passively until many years later when that itch to invest passively crept back up.

Ryan became an accidental landlord after moving from Phoenix back to Montana in 2007, a rental he kept until 2016 when he started investing more intentionally. Since 2016, Ryan has focused (or should we say lack thereof) on all different kinds of investing, always returning to real estate and business as his mainstay. Ryan has a small portfolio of one-to-three-unit rentals across four different markets in the US. He has also invested in over fifty real estate syndication investments individually or with an investment group or tribe. Working to diversify in multiple asset classes, Ryan invests in multi-family, note funds, NNN industrial, retail, office, self-storage, online businesses, start-ups, and several other asset classes that further cement his self-diagnosis of “shiny object syndrome”.

However, with all of those reaches over the years, Ryan still believes in the long-term success and tenets of passive, cash-flow-focused investing with proven syndicators and shared knowledge in investing.

When he’s not working with LFI or on his personal passive investments, he recently opened a new Club Pilates franchise studio after an insurance career. Outside of that, he can be found with his wife watching whatever sport one of their two boys is involved in during that particular season.

Steve Suh

Chief Content Officer, Founder

Steve Suh, one of the founders of Left Field Investors and its Chief Content Officer, has been involved with real estate and alternative assets since 2005. Like many, he saw his net worth plummet during the two major stock market crashes in the early 2000s. Since then, he vowed to find other ways to invest his money. Reading Rich Dad, Poor Dad gave Steve the impetus to learn about real estate investing. He first became a landlord after purchasing his office condo. He then invested passively as a limited partner in oil and gas drilling syndications but quickly learned the importance of scrutinizing sponsors when he stopped getting returns after only a few months. Steve came back to real estate by buying a few small residential rentals. Seeing that this was not easily scalable, he searched for alternative ideas. After listening to hundreds of podcasts and attending numerous real estate investing meetings, he determined that passively investing in real estate syndications was the best avenue to get great, risk-adjusted returns. He has invested in dozens of syndications involving apartment buildings, self-storage facilities, resort properties, ATMs, Bitcoin mining funds, car washes, a coffee farm, and even a Broadway show.

When Steve is not vetting commercial real estate syndications in the evenings, he is stomping out eye diseases and improving vision during the day as an ophthalmologist. He enjoys playing in his tennis and pickleball leagues and rooting for his Buckeyes and Steelers football teams. In the past several years, he took up running and has completed three full marathons, including the New York City Marathon. He is always on a quest to find great pizza, BBQ brisket, and bourbon. He enjoys traveling with his wife and their three adult kids. They usually go on a medical mission trip once a year to southern Mexico to provide eye surgeries and glasses to the residents. Steve has enjoyed being a part of Left Field Investors to help others learn about the merits of passive, real asset investments.

Sean Donnelly

Chief Culture Officer, Founder

Sean holds a W2 job in the finance sector and began his real estate investing journey shortly after earning his MBA. Unfortunately, it could not have begun at a worse time … anyone remember 2007 … but even the recession provided worthy lessons. Sean stayed in the game continuing to find his place, progressing from flipping to owning single and multi-family rentals to now funding opportunities through syndications. While Sean is still heavily invested in the equities market and holds a small portfolio of rentals, he strongly believes passive investing is the best way to offset the cyclical nature of traditional investment vehicles as well as avoid the headaches of direct property ownership. Through consistent cash flow, long term yield and available tax benefits, the diversification offered with passive investing brings a welcomed balance to an otherwise turbulent investing scheme. What Sean likes most about the syndication space is that the investment opportunities are not “one size fits all” and the community of investors genuinely want to help.

He earned a B.S. in Finance from Iowa State University in 1995 and a MBA from Otterbein University in 2007. Sean has lived in eight states but has called Ohio home for the last 20+.  When not attending his children’s various school/sporting events, Sean can be found running, golfing, shooting or fly-fishing.

Patrick Wills

Chief Information Officer, Advisory Partner

An active real estate investor since 2017, Patrick Wills’ investing journey began like many others – after reading the “purple book” by Robert Kiyosaki. Patrick started with single family rentals, and while they performed well, he quickly realized their inability to scale efficiently while remaining passive. He discovered syndications via podcasts and local meetups and never looked back. He joined Left Field Investors in 2022 as a member and has quickly become an integral part of the team as Vice President of Technology.

An I.T. Systems Engineer by trade, he experienced the limitations of traditional Wall Street investing firsthand in his career and knew there had to be a better way to truly have financial freedom.

Unfortunately, that better way is inaccessible to those who need it most. His mission is to make alternative investments accessible to everyone who seeks to take control of their financial future and to pursue their passions in life.

Contact Us

Stay Connected!

Sign up to be notified of our latest articles and meeting announcements.

Stay Connected!

Sign up to be notified of our latest articles and meeting announcements.