Better Returns: Invest Like a Pro

The Prescription for a Healthy Investment with Harry Nima Zegarra, MD

January 17, 2023 Harry Nima Zegarra, MD Episode 14
Better Returns: Invest Like a Pro
The Prescription for a Healthy Investment with Harry Nima Zegarra, MD
Show Notes Transcript

Come along on a journey that takes us from Peru to the United States — from becoming a physician to investing in real estate. Harry Nima Zegarra reveals what he’s learned along the way and how he helps others grow their wealth by investing in apartments.


  • Harry is a physician who also has a passion for investing in real estate. Starting with single family homes, Harry and his wife now invest in multifamily apartments.
  • He got involved with a real estate investing group consisting of experts who have been running apartment investment syndications and know all the ins and outs. Leveraging their expertise creates more secure investment opportunities.
  • Once an apartment building is purchased by investors, it’s important to have an outstanding and reliable asset manager to make sure the business plan stays on track. 
  • It’s important to become educated on what apartment investing is and all of the people who are involved in the process. This education will make you feel comfortable and confident with the investment. 

“We decided to join forces with other people who were experts in the field and who have been doing this for years and some of them through different cycles.”

“Invest in yourself. That's the most important thing.”

Harry is a full time Pulmonary & Critical Care doctor from South America. He started in real estate about five years ago and has invested in residential and commercial real estate. Harry is the founder of Nima Equity. He educates other doctors about passive real estate investments and helps them to build wealth outside Wall Street. Harry has an excellent Youtube channel called Nima Equity.

YouTube: Nima Equity

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Well I'd like to Welcome to our show Harry Nima Zagara here is a full-time pulmonary and critical care doctor from South America he started in real estate about five years ago and has invested in residential commercial properties Harry is the founder of Nima equity he educates other doctors about passively investing in real estate and helps them build wealth outside of Wall Street I got to note Harry has an excellent YouTube channel called Nima Equity some great content out there I'm a subscriber you should too well Harry welcome to the show hey Matt thank you so much for having me here and many are very very honored and excited to be here today excellent excellent well tell us a little about how you got how did you discover apartment investing how did you run across that let's start from the beginning absolutely yeah I mean it's kind of like a little bit of a long story so like I'll start like from I mean like it goes back to when I was living in Peru so as like like as you know like my wife and I were from Peru and um uh first generation college educated uh person right like so so my family like in the past I think I had the option like to go to college so um they used to do like different type of business including real estate so so we had some exposure from that in the past so when we came here to the US so my wife and I we're both Physicians and so we came here for uh to continue our training so we're doing like residency then a couple of years later I was doing Fellowship the sub-specialization so we were always interested in real estate it's just just mainly because we were moving every three two to three years we were not able like to get started initially and uh also you may say because of lack of education at the same time I mean like what everybody think things about real real estate here in the US is single family homes right like so uh they fix some flips like short-term rentals long-term rentals all of that so so because of that is that again like we we didn't even started like until we came here to Dallas forward so again it was like a long journey like like again in training and even in private practice initially but then like after uh I remember was two years in private practice that uh we decided to move here to Dallas and the reason being like also it was like a like a bigger city um my wife had a family here like in the area and we also had friends from from back from Peru from medical school so it was like the perfect setup right like so so we're right here to to Dallas and uh and we love the area our kids love their school so we decided like to buy uh our uh residence right again pretty much and very quickly uh two or three months after that we decided to jump into real estate uh seriously right like and we started like initially in residential real estate in long-term rentals and then after a couple of years and this this is what we have been doing the last uh two years uh in multifime in the multi-family space especially in syndications great great so you're you're the traditional okay I'm gonna do some residential small rental type stuff and then you discover so how did you discover um multi-family because I was in the same boat as you 30 years my wife and I were doing flips and flips you know on and off on and off like six years ago I heard about on a podcast oh what's this multi-family thing this is much easier yeah so how did you discover it because it's just not something you hear about on the news and nobody talks about it like you said how did you discover multi-family mainly again like through education right like and also like through like life experience right like so uh so we we came here to Dallas we experienced like so we were very interested in real estate we were primed for real estate and uh so we started like acquiring single family homes right like the first uh property we acquired like three months after we acquired a property and put a tenant the AC broke so you can imagine like like the whole year in cash flow when uh we're now and there were one expense yeah exactly so and and initially we were actually trying to do that ourselves to manage the property with just one property even right like so and you can imagine right like two Physicians full-time jobs with two boys two two kids and very active boys actually uh so it was like a nightmare initially like right like so we you would uh I mean like like the classic uh termites tenants you were living here yeah which I mean like we we had we really like real estate and we have a passion for it so I mean it was not that difficult but I mean at the same time it was taking like a lot of time so uh half a year after that we we hired a property manager and and things changed and so we uh we we got the help from him we leveraged his time so uh we were able to even acquire more and more properties in that moment and at some point uh we went up to nine properties so it's nine long-term rentals in the Dallas Fort Worth area right which again like by any means I mean it's it's growing I mean it was great right but I mean like we were discovering that again like it was becoming kind of like a second job right like so you can imagine like even with a great property manager I mean every decision every responsibility and liability is on you and and they're always gonna call you back I mean they're great uh people and helping you with the property and helping like the tenants but but still the decisions are yours right so um it was to the point again like my wife and I were talking about that and say like hey I mean like there should be a better way to invest in real estate right it's not so much work so uh we went back to uh education again like and that's like also part how we started like in single family home so we went back to education to to do a podcast like to listen to podcasts to listen to audiobooks to go to meetups even some conferences and we discover so like uh syndications State and multifamily specifically right like so uh we were very interested and uh even though in this moment we're mainly active investors we we discovered that you can participate as an active but also as a passive investor right like and even though many people this call may discover at some point that when you're active you may be able to get a better return on investment at some point but but but the question is at what cost right like uh at what cost in terms of your time in terms of your effort in terms of your peace of mind right like so so so that's where we I mean after a couple of months we decided like to join a mastermind and mentorship and we decided like to join forces with other people who were experts in the field and who have been doing this for four years and some of them through different Cycles even right like so we decided like to join forces and and that's what have been doing the last two years excellent excellent because you can Fast Track and there's a couple messages there first off is yeah you may be able to make a little bit more money if you're managing nine single-family homes but what's the opportunity cost I mean you have two wonderful kids I see them on Facebook all the time like you don't get to spend time with you both you and your wife have very important roles in the world as doctors you're busy doing that and now you're going to manage tenant toilets and termites there's really good values like okay you know I can make a little bit more money on that but me and maybe I get 10 less but I have all this Freedom if I passively invest to spend time with my family and focus on my work and everything else so that's a really good message I like you hit on that right yes people ask me well you can probably make more money on the single if you own 100 single family homes versus 100 unit apartment as a passive investor but do you want all that headache do you want the word are you going to enjoy life I mean it's time you're right I love that you're changing your time for money yes like yeah and and like and also I heard like some multiple times like in podcasts and things like that like so people like in their 70s or 80s with 100 homes or 150 homes and they don't even like remember that they have one or what were the address is right like so we were saying like no that's probably not for us no no there's a lot of moving Parts but I mean as you mentioned before one thing goes wrong the HVAC you're only making maybe 100 200 a month in profit well in each facts probably two grand you just blew your profit for the whole year in one expense exactly or the taxes go up for insurance because I mean it is much more challenged you don't have the economies of scales of a large apartment complex just no comparison absolutely none at all and there's another other thing that you mentioned I wanted to highlight is that you did join a mastermind and you and ions part of the same Mastermind that's why we're friends um and you you leverage other people's experience so we're working with people that have been doing this for 25 years I've been known for six or seven years but for 25 years um they've seen the Cycles they know what's going on so if any situation comes up they got your back I mean your our partners have got our back because they've done so many deals so so that really protects the investors from okay you know like I was a corporate executive now I'm a real estate guy well I've been a real estate guy for a long time but I haven't been in multi-family for 25 years so I think that's a really good point is that okay you're not just investing with Harry or Matt you're investing with our powerful big group that has lots and lots of experience we have the best SC tourneys we have the best exactly insurance brokers and lending Brokers and all that so I just want to highlight that I think that's a really nice yeah you and I absolutely realize we can't do this on our own let's let's leverage somebody else's experience yes as you're saying like to leverage like their experience and their time and also like uh it's very different right like when you invest in single-family homes is you and your money and you may be playing with a couple of thousand dollars or things like that but when you're talking about syndications and multi-family this multi-million properties I mean like it's it's you're we're talking about millions of dollars and not just your money but also the money your investors which is very important for all of us that's absolutely right absolutely so what are you looking for um for you so you work with a lot of doctors which is great you're helping busy busy doctors I don't have time to go out and do this so you help them passively invest what are the things that they typically look for what what do they look for an investment  yeah so um I I have been very blessed and grateful that in the last two years I've talked with many many doctors in in the healthcare uh field so um so one one of the things is that many Physicians and doctors they don't know how to invest in real estate and and they haven't heard like they were syndication before so right like it's it's initially starts as a part of as an education and giving people or doctors or or high income professionals other options for them right like we because there's one saying that says like we tend to invest in things that we are we know or that we are familiar with and guess what here in the US we all know only about stocks the stock market Wall Street 401ks and we don't know that there are other alternative ways to invest that actually it's called alternative but actually they're more mainstream right like again like there it's it it makes more sense it's more stable and the rewards it may be better right so we usually start with that right like again like that there's other ways to to to invest other than Wall Street and the other thing is again like uh that they have options right like again like uh for for example in my in our field that is a real real estate there's so many ways to invest in real estate right like I can always uh try to give them this option that hey for any reason you want to be maybe more active absolutely I mean I can give you some some problems about that I can guide you through towards that if you want to be on the passive side I can I can share with you all this information or education we have on our website our YouTube channel or other venues also right like so they can take an informed decision right like because at the end it's like again like they your investors need to feel so comfortable with like the decision that they're making right like so you don't want to make a rough decision because it's their harm and money rightly it's it's a big amount of money too what they invest and the other thing is that the investment is going to stay like in the in the property for four to six years so it's a big decision yeah so education education and you do a wonderful stuff with that Harry I'm a big fan of yours but you put it out there and it's it's not salesy at all you're just saying hey here's here's what it's like to passively invest in large apartment buildings so you're educating people and then they self-select weather you know what I didn't even know that it wasn't a thing and you know and you're putting out great content that and again people decide if it's right for them or not but if they don't know about it that's the thing is nobody gets paid to advertise apartment investing I mean fidelity Vanguard they're in all these big Wall Street um uh companies investment companies had billions of dollars of advertisement budgets okay nothing you just support them we can just not compete with them so I love the fact you're putting it out there to help people know you've got an option you know you're not just locked into Wall Street because I was one of those people years ago I had every 100 in Wall Street when I first started years and years I know and they say happened to to most of us yes yeah just don't know anybody I don't know exactly um so what what specifically what properties do you like what's your criteria for um an ideal property that you like to bring to your investors what What markets do you like and kind of what are the criteria of the properties yeah and that's why exactly where uh The Mastermind and the mentorship growth comes kind of comes with right like so uh we relied in our partners that have more experience at us that that are doing this full-time even right like so uh I mean I always tell my investors I'm a physician I'm a full-time doctor I couldn't do this too just just myself I I was doing myself and you at the service if I if I try to do it to do this myself so we we go with other investors who have been doing this full time and with a couple of years at least right like so and and the market said that we look at like are usually in the midwest Southeast Texas Arizona too right like so we're looking usually like to markets where we see population is moving right like where where businesses are moving where the area is business friendly land or friendly too so that makes a big difference at the end on how you're going to manage your your business plan right like so so those are the things that we initially look like um like in the markets right in terms of The Operators we make because that's also fundamental and very important right like so one of the things is again like the then the writing or the analysis that that you make on the numbers and that's great like in like at the end you're closing the property and everyone is excited right like but after that the real work starts actually right like and I can tell you because also in one of the last uh projects that we Acquired and part of the asset management team and believe me I mean if you try to do this well I mean it takes a lot of time too right like so that so that's important right like so I I mean I always and and lately at least in the last year year and a half I'm asking if the asset management team is doing this full-time rightly if they have experience like like before and if they live in the area or at least close or at least if they are able like to travel like kind of often right because you're right people think of okay when you buy the property you're done but but I would say as a passive investor because I passive invest in a lot of stuff too it's the asset management I'm most concerned with because the asset manager is it's so it's a part of the general partner team for those that don't aren't familiar with it so the the general partner team the people that run the deal then one or two of those people are designated as asset managers so they're going to stick with that property for the next five or six years and they're going to meet on a weekly basis with a property manager they're going to deal with all those headaches that you did as a single family homeowner with a property yes our asset manager is a central person so they're not talking about the three or four General Partners but that role is so critical because first off who is it do they are they a business person with lots of good experience of running the business understanding profit and losses and economics and key performance indicators and you know do they take action follow up and then most importantly do they have a backup is there somebody what if this person steps away and this is where I got in trouble years ago I've told the story of it I passively invested in one of my first feels like six years ago and I invested in one guy of the three partners he went away he left the deal he said I'm gonna do something else and the people he left with didn't know anything about running apartments and they ran into the ground basically so I always know that not only is what I'm sorry who's the backup like you said yes what's their expertise who's going to pick up the show if this guy's out or if he wants to go on vacation for a month but I love the fact that you pointed that out that's the probably the most important person yes yeah and we have seen this in the last four to five years that everyone like everything was great right like so even we know that instill our asset management team I mean like things were still doing good that's going to change in the next few years right like so uh that's why picking a strong team uh General sponsorship team with a good asset manager is so important now when the economy is booming it's easy to make money when things get tough you really want that person that's seen a lot of seen a lot of issues in the past and knows how to handle though it's really good delivery so when you're speaking with um investors or potential investors what are the typical concerns they have which they all do like what is the primary like okay I'm not really sure about this this or this what are the typical questions you get that you could help help educate people on right now yeah so again like uh so the most important part again is like the lack of knowledge about like this type of Investments and how they work right like and their participation or no participation in the decisions on the day-to-day of the pro of the project right like so there's something that I always it's important for me to to pass this information to any possible investor right like like I always say like these are the important things that you should consider before investing in a syndication or why you shouldn't invest in a syndication right like so so one of them is that is big money right like so it's we're talking about her their hard earn money right like and they need to prepare for that because that money like again like it's at least 50 or 75 000 in most in most situations right like so it's it's not like uh easy like to get in right like so like the next step like I always tell this again like it's gonna be any liquid investment so like and and like and that means that again like it's not like the stock market or mutual funds or even reads right like if you change your mind like uh in a couple of days or next week you can just sell your stocks or shares right that doesn't happen here because you're we're talking a physical asset and it stays and it's going to stay there right like so you need to think about that your investment is going to stay there or your capital is going to stay there for the next four to six years right and always life happens right like again like I mean like yeah I may think like I want to build a pool in my house like for next year or my son is going to college so if either I'm not prepared for that I may have some problems in the future right like so so so those things are important and the last thing that I always tell also is um it's a passive investment for good or for bad it's a passive investment and and I would say like at the end like hey but actually that's even better like like because you don't get all the headaches and you're leaving your investment with someone who is an expert in this and has been doing this for years and is doing this every day so that that's one of the things that I try to educate before someone gets or jumps into the investment wow you're good that's great that's wonderful stuff and it's really because it's not right for everyone your absolutely good points like okay your money's gonna be tied up for you know four to six years so if you have a kid going to college in three years you need those funds don't do it or like you said if you're planning for a big expense or something else going on exactly that's really good that that you are very transparent Harry and saying okay guys this not might not be for you if this is your situation so I love that that you're yeah we we always want to try to be a good stewards of your money and also like at the same time I mean we're we're not in this business for one or two deals for one or two years we're thinking about this for the long term right like and we want to establish good relationships with our investors we want to build the friendships with with the people that we work with yes yes yes absolutely because they've got to trust you and they've got to know that you're going to do what you say you're going to do and that you've got a good team so yes and I know you have a good team um here's another question for you what are some of the challenges you've experienced as a passive or an active investor in in multi-family what challenges have you run across that you've had to overcome yes so um I can tell you it's like uh everything in life when you're starting requires time and effort right so uh like like I say anything like right like when you go to medical school when you try to open a restaurant it was like the same with us right like so we were very uh primed for syndications in real estate to join this business but but again like you can imagine I'm a full-time physician so I like I needed like to put extra effort at the beginning right like so but it it pays off right like again like uh you you find yourself in a business or in a field that you really like that you're passionate and that you feel that you're making some good for other people right like for for yourself for your family but also for your investors and finally also for the tenants so so that was like a three things that that were excellent for it like in my case like the the other thing like as you mentioned like challenges right like so is that uh some and I have seen this a couple of times that some people like think like oh it's like so a doctor should be only a doctor or a lawyer you're only a lawyer and always continue being a lawyer like in their nine to five right like and if you're trying to do this maybe it's not going to last right like so I mean this kind of uh mindset things like of of some people that that they don't necessarily like uh believe that you're gonna be serious about that right like but but but but then again like you show them like uh you're you are serious you put your effort and you put your time and you deliver us also right like so it's very important to keep like your word with your investors but also with your lead sponsors or syndicators thank you and you do a great job of that here you demonstrate the fact that you really know multi-family syndications I mean again I consume your content you really do demonstrate that and I think that's appreciate it thank you well that's that's really good stuff we're now going to go into the a little bit lighter fun stuff it's called the lightning round these are just five fun questions all right you know Harry a little bit better are you ready let's do it okay the first one is what was your nickname as a child oh um it's in Spanish actually like like the El arizo like uh so so I saw my hair was like kind of kind of thick so I like I used to have like a thick hair so like like everyone was was making fun of my hair so I mean in Spanish it's elariso like like the um the porcupine okay so it would be like porcupine in English then yeah okay so your nickname is porcupine basically because your hair stuck up and it's so thick that's great that's a good one okay are you a morning person or a night owl um can I say both actually yes you can I mean people have a natural tendency and what happened yeah and what happens is that um I love mornings I mean actually like I'm the first one to wake up in the morning here at home I mean I mean and and the reason is like like because I like to do this stuff in the morning like and to run to to to to go for a walk to the park right but also because of my line of work you know like I'm a physician and I see a doctor and many times I work in shifts and these shifts are at night so I mean like I find myself sometimes at midnight uh when when the work goes down like just just doing stuff on the computer or reading something or watching videos so kind of both actually we can't put Harry in a box if I'm taking a survey after I'm done after I've done like 200 interviews I'm gonna I'm gonna show the polls so I'm gonna put you as both because you really are and I think that's the nature of your business you know that your career is really you've got to be bold so very interesting okay what would be the first thing you did we would do if you won the lottery um I actually I I got that question before from someone else and uh and I always say and my answer is gonna be the same um I would do the same I would do the same every day right like because like um and many people think that I'm doing real estate now because I want to leave medicine but that's not true so I mean I actually still love medicine I still enjoy being a physician it's just that I just want to have a better balance in my in my life and in my with and with my time right like so I would probably continue being a physician uh probably better part-time but also being involved in real estate so I would do the same and and maybe like the only change it would be like to travel a little bit more with my family uh we really enjoy traveling I mean actually this year has been the year to have it traveled the most I think we have gone to four or five trips already this year so it was really good was really good and and those are the important things right like like the things that you keep for for yourself like in your memories and with like as a family so that's very important I love that it's about experience and I'm the same thing here like in my point in my life I don't need any more things it's all experiences so we do a lot of traveling with our kids our adult kids even I love that it's great Harry okay um if you could live anywhere in the world where would it be oh that's a difficult one because like uh we we love the US I mean like yeah and you and like like you know right like we we're from Peru from South America we have been living here for 15 years we love the U.S we consider this home now both our kids were born here but uh I don't know we we love um the Caribbean a lot and and the beach a lot so maybe somewhere like in the Caribbean like kind of the Bahamas or mexicos and somewhere around there yeah I love vacation in there we've probably been to 15 vacations in the Caribbean over the years so good I will visit you wherever you live there here I'll come and visit I'll take an invitation okay and then the final question is um because this podcast is called better returns yeah what is the one piece of advice if you could only give a new passive investor one piece of advice to get better Returns what would that piece of advice be yes um education and also invest in yourself that's that's the most important thing and where you're gonna get like the best return on investment well said well said thanks so much thanks so much okay so finally how can this how can our listeners find you where can they find you on social media yes yes thank you so much uh so uh we have our website which is called Nema Equity so it's Nancy I am a and also as you mentioned we have our YouTube channel with the same name but we usually is it's a free Channel and we try to bring again like awareness and education about like in general like real real estate in general but specifically in syndications and multi-family excellent excellent and all that information will be in the show notes so you can contact Harry thanks so much for being on the show I truly appreciate it Harry thank you man had a blessed day