During the peak of the COVID pandemic, Andrew Freed found himself thumbing through pages of Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad Poor Dad. The book struck a chord with him and led him to reflect on his life’s direction.
A pivotal question arose in the stillness of his reflection: “Do I want to maintain the status quo, or try to become the best version of myself?”
Andrew chose the latter. In just three years, he’s grown his portfolio from zero to 127 units and positioned himself as an expert in the multifamily space. No doubt that his current accomplishments stem from prudent financial decisions, hard work, and dedication.
Of all of his investments, though, Andrew would be the first to tell you that the best investments he’s ever made have been in other people. At each juncture of his story, you’ll find that networking played a crucial role in his growth.
Learning From the Greats
When trying something new, the best place to start is by learning as much as you can. Andrew read countless real estate investing books, scoured Zillow for deals, and analyzed them daily.
As he continued to educate himself, he began to realize that buy-and-hold multifamily properties were going to be his niche. One book in particular struck a chord with him: The Book on Managing Rental Properties: A Proven System for Finding, Screening, and Managing Tenants with Fewer Headaches and Maximum Profits by Brandon Turner.
The beauty of books is that they’re written by people who have already been down the path you’re choosing to embark on. You get to understand the way that they think, the actions successful people take, and, equally important—what not to do.
Although Andrew didn’t have a formal mentor at this stage, he was getting advice from the most prominent real estate investors in the world. This is something that anyone with an Audible account or a library card can do. The hardest part is simply getting started.
From Zero to Four Units by Taking Relentless Action
Every day, thousands of people log on to BiggerPockets. They ask questions in the forums and read blog posts, and after years of this, still don’t have any units. The key to overcoming analysis paralysis is by taking relentless action.
When talking with Andrew about this subject, he said: “I take relentless action every day and find one thing I can do to move forward. Even if I make a mistake, I can adjust along the way. Doing anything that gets you closer to your goal is better than dreaming about it.”
After months of researching and honing his craft, Andrew took action. Every day, these are examples of relentless actions that Andrew took:
- Talk to a lender.
- Analyze five deals.
- Look at properties on Zillow.
- Save money.
- Research alternative financing options.
- Keep reading to learn more.
- Make offers.
None of these actions takes more than an hour to do. By breaking it down into manageable steps, he was never overwhelmed and could stick with the process.
It didn’t happen overnight, but after enough offers, he eventually landed his first house hack—a three-family in Worcester, Massachusetts. At the same time, he rented out his former primary residence in Boston.
From this single transaction, Andrew had already 4Xed his portfolio. This began a wealth snowball that eventually became an avalanche.
Mentors and Meetups: Paving the Way for 24 Units in Two Years
By the end of his second year as a real estate investor, he was already at 24 units and was even featured on the BiggerPockets Rookie Podcast. After two years, he’d almost reached his 10-year goal. And an integral component that got him from where he was to where he wanted to be was relationships.
Unlocking the power of mentors
Andrew was determined to hit his goal of landing 30 properties over the next 10 years. To excel, he needed guidance. It was only natural that he began looking for a local mentor who was deeply entrenched in the multifamily realm, with hundreds of units under their belt.
Instead of thinking about what he could gain from his potential mentor, Andrew decided to take a different approach. He posed the question, “How can I bring immense value without expecting anything in return?”
Upon doing some research, Andrew noticed that his ideal mentor owned a real estate brokerage and also had meetups across New England. So Andrew got his real estate license, joined the team, and even started a Worcester meetup. This led to countless marketing opportunities and new clients for the brokerage.
Never once did Andrew ask for anything in return, yet the relationship grew organically as the man he looked up to saw Andrew’s work ethic and persistence. It was only natural for him to take Andrew under his wing. Any time there were questions about a deal, his mentor offered advice. If Andrew needed an introduction, he now had his mentor’s extensive network at his disposal.
Meetups and partnerships
On a parallel time frame, Andrew was steadily building one of the most influential real estate meetups in New England. Fueling his passion for networking and sharing knowledge, Andrew added value to his community through helping others build connections, offering access to deals, and by creating a space for learning. His Worcester events now regularly bring large groups of accomplished investors together.
Every event established Andrew as a renowned figure in his area. His network began to expand, as did opportunities for deals. On one hand, his people-first approach and willingness to help others led many to trust him. At the same time, Andrew got to see how other investors in his community operated.
Ultimately, these meetups were the pathway toward successful partnerships. He bought multifamilies with other investors he met and continued to expand by being flexible about how to structure deals as wins all around.
Scaling up, Andrew ventured into more significant deals, partnering with individuals whose values aligned with his own. He discovered a five-unit property, struck up a partnership, and made a valuable addition to his portfolio.
From this partnership, Andrew found value in delegating responsibilities and strengths. This delegation became second nature as he learned to build a team based on ethics, reliability, and complementary skills. Andrew created a reliable system of like-minded and goal-oriented individuals by curating a team of trusted professionals and fitting people into roles that best suited their interests and strengths. Creating a dynamic system and removing himself from the operational aspects allowed Andrew to focus on growth and strategic planning.
When discussing partnerships, Andrew advised that we “watch what people say and do. Over time, this gives you an idea for how people behave and determines who has high integrity. People who do what they say they are going to are the people you want to partner with.”
Leveling Up From 25 to 127 Units With Consistency and Masterminds
“At a certain point, you begin to see the compounding results of what you’ve built—you just need to stick with it long enough to find out,” Andrew said. He continued to expand his meetup to new locations and built upon existing partnerships.
Andrew decided to also explore ways to dig deeper with a group of people who were doing what he was doing at the same or on a larger scale. The natural next step was to form and join masterminds because “if you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room.”
He joined GoBundance and met his tribe with people from across the country. In addition, he formed weekly masterminds with people he’d met through his meetups.
These are among the key reasons that successful investors value masterminds:
- Diverse perspectives: Bringing together individuals from various backgrounds provides a rich diversity of perspectives and insights that a single person could easily overlook.
- Problem-solving: Similar to the thoughts on perspectives, the collective intelligence of the group can be harnessed for creative problem-solving and innovative solutions to challenges.
- Resource sharing: Access to shared resources, tools, and contacts within the group might bring you to the next level. Participants can share their expertise, knowledge, and experiences, fostering a collective learning environment. If you had one more skill or resource, how could that improve your life?
- Accountability: We’re communal creatures who don’t like letting others down. The group dynamic encourages accountability as members set and share goals, leading to increased motivation to achieve them.
- Support system: Somebody has probably experienced what you’re going through and can relate. Members provide emotional support, encouragement, and constructive feedback, creating a positive, empowering environment. They can even bring deals to the table to collaborate on.
Andrew credits his masterminds for bringing his investment knowledge and portfolio to the level it’s at now. As he continues to scale, he plans to lean on mastermind groups to find deals and consult with experts.
Catching a Whale in the Whaling City: A 69-Unit Syndication
New Bedford, Massachusetts got the nickname “Whaling City” because back in the 1800s, it was a major hub for trading whale oil. Hundreds of years later, Andrew found a whale of a real estate deal here.
A landlord was selling 69 doors, so Andrew decided to syndicate a deal to acquire these units. This is where all parts of his story converge. He leveraged his network from meetups, brought in partners that he trusted, and even asked his mentor to help raise capital for the deal. He went into detail about this when he made a return appearance to the BiggerPockets Rookie Podcast.
32 Units From an Existing Partnership
Andrew’s expertise in multifamily real estate led his friend and partner to bring a lucrative deal for a South Carolina apartment complex. Recognizing his proven success in syndication, Andrew gained equity in the venture without capital exposure. This strategic collaboration not only expanded his portfolio but highlighted the value of industry knowledge and effective partnerships in navigating real estate complexities.
Your Network is Your Net Worth
Fast-forward to the present. Andrew’s portfolio boasts a staggering 127 units. His journey exemplifies not just the acquisition of real estate but the transformation of mindset, the power of mentorship, and the significance of relentless learning and networking.
Andrew’s story is a testament to the fact that you can achieve whatever you set your mind to if you surround yourself with the right people. Always look for ways to add value to others, put in the time to hone your craft, and the rest will follow over time.
69 Doors from ONE Real Estate Deal Using Other People’s Money
Hear how Andrew acquired nearly 70 doors in one deal, and successfully scaled his portfolio from zero to 127 units in just three years!
Note By BiggerPockets: These are opinions written by the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions of BiggerPockets.