Better Returns: Invest Like a Pro

Investing in Dreams with Dan Calonge

August 29, 2023 Dan Calonge Episode 26
Better Returns: Invest Like a Pro
Investing in Dreams with Dan Calonge
Show Notes Transcript

Dive into the world of real estate investing and discover how Dan Calonge, a seasoned executive with an MBA and a multi-family investor, is on a mission to help immigrants achieve generational wealth through real estate. Drawing from his family's journey of moving from Cuba to the US, Dan shares insights into the challenges immigrants face and how he's dedicated to guiding them through unfamiliar investment opportunities. 

Dan discusses his personal experiences in real estate, from his initial exposure as a limited partner to the critical factors he considers when choosing investments. The conversation also delves into the current state of multi-family commercial real estate and future predictions, highlighting the importance of strong operators and adaptability in navigating changing economic conditions. Join us for a rich exploration of real estate, integrity, and investment strategies in this informative episode.


  • Dan's initial interest in real estate dates back to the early 2000s, but it wasn't until the pandemic that he fully immersed himself in the field.
  • Dan's background drives his commitment to assisting immigrants, as seen through his involvement in an advisory council aiding immigrants in Cincinnati.
  • Dan's personal journey as an immigrant aids his commitment to overcoming challenges and achieving success in real estate.
  • Emphasis on long-term commitment in real estate investing, appreciating the importance of investing with trustworthy teams in growth areas.
  • Addressing the current challenge of finding profitable deals with rising interest rates.
  • The dynamic nature of real estate and the importance of preparation for various scenarios.

“Given that the interest rates are going to be somewhat higher for a while, I have a feeling that in the next six months or so we're going to see a lot more distressed opportunities…distressed in terms of the financing and the way it was set up.”

“Listening to this podcast is a great way to educate yourself because you hear from different people on their different perspectives and on real estate and investing.”

Dan is a seasoned executive with an MBA and also a multifamily investor focused on helping immigrants get exposed to power real estate investing. His family is from Cuba, so he identifies with the challenges of not knowing how things work in a new country. His mission is to assist other immigrant families in creating generational wealth.

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welcome to better returns where you will learn how to escape the volatility of the stock market by passively investing in real estate like a pro 90 of millionaires earned and maintain their wealth by investing in real estate we will share real-life examples from Savvy investors so you can do the same the show is for educational purposes only should not be considered legal tax or investment advice as a kid he had a County Fair Blue Ribbon winning goat named squirt your host and my dad Matt Hansen welcome back to better returns invest like a pro I've got another one of my good friends in the call today Dan colone Dan is a seasoned executive with an MBA and if that's not enough he's also multi-family investor focused on helping immigrants get exposed to the power of real estate investing Dan's own family moved from Cuba so he identifies the challenges of not knowing how things operate in a new country so his mission is to assist other immigrant families in generating generational wealth welcome to the show Dan hey Matt good to see you thanks for having me well I always like to start with your origin story how did you get involved in passively investing in real estate and actively investing in real estate yeah it's a great question I mean it's been something that I've been thinking about for many years and you know I think it started for me uh in the early 2000s started reading a little bit back then about real estate and um but I was a very busy W-2 you know had my job and I was very busy in my job and I liked what I was doing so I didn't really pay much attention to real estate it was something I was always thought I'd be interesting but it really wasn't I want to say until uh the pandemic hit where we were all sent uh you know in our company we're also at home just like everybody else and so I was at home couldn't really do very much and I thought you know this is a great time for me to to dive into real estate uh so started to voraciously read uh listen to podcasts um and it came pretty pretty quick to me that I wanted to be able to to work with somebody that was uh experienced in in this area um I certainly wanted to make sure that I was making the right decisions and thinking about things the right way so you know I connected with you know Mark Kenny we you know as well um and been you know working with Mark for a while now and uh it's been it's been a lot of fun I mean it's where I've been over the last three years is it's the world win I can't believe how much um how much I've I've grown in this area since uh since that started so so that's how you know I got to it that luckily the pandemic kind of interrupted the pattern of working and working and working uh to see something else to see a different approach to life that's interesting you're one of those people that took this down time if you will and bettered yourself and your family and other people I love that that's great Dan let's talk a little bit about you know you're saying that you know just now at this age and you're still a very young man you discover the power of Real Estate and I just love your focus is on helping immigrants so can you imagine I can't imagine being new to the country just figuring how to operate on a day-to-day basis and then let alone what should I invest in so let's talk a little bit about your journey and that or how you help people overcome those obstacles yeah I mean that's that's uh that's really at the heart of what I what I'm passionate about um my family came to the US in 1960 um they they fled Cuba like a year or less after a Fidel Castro took over and their their thought actually was that they would only be gone for maybe six months or nine months and they'd be back in the country they left everything behind thinking they're going to come back to it eventually when things settle down well you know Fidel Castro didn't go anywhere he stayed and uh and things just kept getting worse so they ended up never going back again so um my family had to readjust to a new language a new set of rules uh one of my grandfathers was a prominent attorney in Cuba and since the U.S has a completely different legal structure he couldn't be an attorney here so he started waiting tables and uh just doing whatever they could to get by and if it wasn't for uh the kindness of some Americans that helped my family out you know it probably would have been a much more difficult Road um you know my my dad tells the story of uh of my grandfather and my grandmother when they um they received uh one of their very first times they went to a a food a food shelter and uh they got a this uh this big jar of peanut butter and um they're like they're not really sure what to do with it like what so they tried eating it just straight you know and it's like oh man this is you know you know no one told them about jelly yet I guess but uh but no but it's they they really valued it and it and it's interesting that you know my parent my grandparents passed away uh in the late 90s and my dad uh was cleaning out their stuff and he found that same peanut butter jar it saved since the 60s as a reminder of kind of what what they were what they went through so for me it's it's um something that that I'm very passionate about is helping the Immigrant Community I'm on the advisory Council of the largest Social Services Agency in Cincinnati I'm the co-chair actually of the council and we focus on helping immigrants when they get to the U.S uh so for me it's it's a it's really trying to pay back those that that provided from my family um and it's the little the least that I can do and what I love about this um this background and the way I'm thinking about this is that it I think this ties really well with uh with investing because of the fact that um you know new immigrant uh professionals to the United States you know don't really know a whole lot about how things work um the things that you and I might take for granted right like Social Security and all these kind of fundamental things that we all sort of know how they work when you knew the country you don't know any of that uh and then forget the idea of knowing about real estate real estate and Commercial Real Estate and things like that that is just it's not even on the radar and you know I mentioned a minute ago boy it would have been nice if I would have known about this earlier you know I always people always ask me you know is there anything that you would have you you need regrets I'm like well I don't have a regret but it just would have been nice to to I would have dove in this a long time ago I'm 52 so I still have you know a lot of time left but um but having the ability to get started in this you know real estate is not a quick Rich you know get right quick thing uh it's really patience time the right behaviors can get you to where you want to go but so really I've been focused on my my investing career now is to helping other other immigrant professionals uh find a way to to grow their wealth through real estate like many other Americans have done that that know about it I think that's so wonderful you've got to focused in a niche because there's not a lot of individuals out there I think you and I have some common friends in our in our masterminds that you're doing the same thing but there's only a handful of individuals like yourself that are doing things like this for immigrants specifically do you speak Spanish and Portuguese both yeah that's right correct it's like who can they talk to that really understands them and can translate all the crazy things that that it's a whole new industry Wall Street doesn't want people to know about this let alone you know if you're an immigrant you haven't been exposed to this so I think it's even doubly important that you're sending this message out to the individuals that just don't have this opportunity until unless you bring it to them I think that's so quite so powerful um any other challenges that you see as an immigrant getting involved in real estate investing well I mean if if they're in the U.S and they're and they've got uh social security number and everything then it's pretty straightforward to get to get involved um you know there are folks that potentially live in other countries that want to invest in U.S real estate which is certainly possible but it does take a little bit more uh you have to set up an LLC and things like that in the U.S but for those that are in the U.S and that our you know our are here permanently have social security numbers you know it's a pretty straightforward process the the challenge you've part isn't so much of that it's the it's the whole mindset and the whole understanding of okay what is this again and does you know what really the returns are like like that really they're put they're that good they're that predictable really and it's it's one of those things that it's you don't you know and to be fair many of these folks you know come from countries that where um where there's a lot of I don't know uh like corruption and right and it's just you know so there's a there's sort of an inherent distrust of the system a few yeah uh based on what they experienced back in their own country so for many you know one of the great things about this country that I think people don't realize is that you know we have we have rules and we have rules that for the most part people follow now are there crooked people in the U.S of course there are you know they're like anywhere but but the vast majority of people follow the rule follow the law if there's things that have to be done a certain way they're done that way but it's not that way in many other countries there might be laws or things written if formally but what actually happens in the street um is very different and so getting that mindset turned to to where you know no this is this is this is a legitimate investment vehicle that is um you know we have attorneys that work on these we have Banks we have all kinds of different organizations that are have their hands involved to make sure that these things go well um and and it's a little bit of the Mind shift for them to be able to come out of that old experience they had in their past country to how things work here that's fascinating because it didn't that never occurred to me that you know we have institutions to protect investors here in other countries it's probably not it's more buyer beware like you said we have attorneys we have the SEC security Exchange Commission all these other agencies that are there to protect you but I didn't realize that doesn't exist like in all other countries I just we just assume it's here it's everywhere well I mean to be fair I mean there are organizations like that in other countries the problem is is that if you have enough money to to pay somebody off right you know then the rules kind of go out the window and you know that doesn't really work that way here in the U.S even if you know I'm sure this example again exceptions I'm sure but for the most part you can't just go and you know pay off somebody at the SEC to do something for you it doesn't work that way it doesn't work that way so um which I think is a great a great thing about this country and why so many people love the United States is because they know that he here they get a fair Shake it's not about who has the the biggest bribe or the biggest anything it's yeah we're all equal um and that's one of the really neat things about this country excellent thanks for sharing it's a different perspective that I never occurred to me well let's shift to two kind of like what are you doing personally what's your your personal experiences in investing in real estate what are the type of activities you're doing now uh in real estate yeah so my my first foray into real estate you know when I started doing a lot of research and trying to learn about how to get involved you know I first started looking like many people maybe I should buy a house and rent it out and um that to me was what real estate investing was in my mind right at the time and so um that was the path I was thinking about going into but then as I thought about it more I'm like well okay maybe you know I I cash flow say a hundred dollars a month or something like that 200 a month you know that's you know maybe two thousand dollars a year you know is that really gonna move the needle very much you know I I felt like you know not necessarily um and so you know I thought about it some more I said what what could I do to to potentially go bigger with more with more units um and this is where you know I for me I credit the people that I've met people like you people like others that uh that I've talked to over the years that have helped me understand you know hey you know there's there's ways that you can get involved in in apartment complexes and larger multi-family properties that can give you much better returns than you could a single family home and that's how I got exposed to it and once I I did my first investment as a limited partner uh I said well this is something that I'd like to see if I could do this uh actively so that's when I decided I want to become a more active player in this and when I started seeking you know mentorship and and talking to people who do this because for me it's it's one thing to read and it's one thing to listen but to actually talk with somebody that's actually done it and been through it and done it many times done it successfully is a game changer and that that for me really made me aware that no I don't have to start with a single family home I can put my money into um into an apartment complex for example and it can do very well um these are things that I had no idea I thought I always thought apartment conflicts are owned by Banks or by making families and I never thought twice about it so to think that that's not really the case for many of them that it's money that's pulled from a bunch of investors you know why can't I be one of those investors you know so that that to me is something that's super attractive of this whole space and it's very egalitarian like we all have the same opportunity to get involved in something like this that that I only I thought it was just for the ultra rich and it's not the case yeah like eight years ago I thought the same thing people that own these apartment buildings have large corporations and all that and then when you get in to realize hold it there are people like Dan and I we're part owners in these large apartment complex we can benefit from it and that's great so let's talk about like your first as a limited partner as a passive investor what was that experience like for particularly when you wired that first big you know check I know that was always nerd that was nervous for me what was your experience like with your first passive investment as a limited partner yeah same same for me as well Matt I mean it was um wiring the money I was like wow I never wired this much money before and uh and so you know I just I I just you know looked at the at the opportunity I knew one of the people that was running it one of the general Partners um so I thought okay I I I know um this individual and and their their track record so I'm I'm I'm looking forward to putting this in there and and that's how it started and you know and this is not like like we mentioned before this is not a quick get quick Rich kind of scheme so you know it's going to take years for the for that to pan out but um but after I did that I said well this this is great I mean I'm I'm where's the next one so it's like what was your criteria in your first one like now you know you're well immersed in this and you really are an expert at it but your first one what what were the key things that you really looked at being new of saying yeah this is this is the investment I want to put my money in then what was your thought process and what things did you look at yeah probably one of the top things that I looked at is it was the uh the Integrity of the team that I was investing with um because there are there are properties there are opportunities to invest in in real estate syndications all over the place uh when you when you really look at it like at the time I didn't know that but when you look at it you know they're they're everywhere so what what separates certain investments from others and for me the way I looked at it was I want to make sure that I'm investing with a team that that I trust and the guy that I was working with at the time who's a great friend of mine now we've become real good friends is he um he's somebody that I thought okay if he's a part of this I'm I'm I feel I feel really good about it and it was also in an area that was uh that was growing it was in in Alabama um and it is an area that was that was growing had really good numbers as far as what the property looked like um and so and so that's that's gone forward and so it's been it's been good to see um to you know looking back on that I'm glad that I looked at that with that kind of lens um because you know it the economy goes up and down all the time real estate goes up and down and so to invest with somebody that that is uh reputable and has that kind of of character to me was really important that's a really good point I think I kind of overlooked that when I started investing um I didn't vet the individuals as much as I did the deal I really got into the numbers of the deal made sure the pro forms and the projections all looked reasonable but I wish and I've only had one that kind of went a little sideways I I didn't lose money on it but I didn't make as much as I should have because I think I bet on the wrong jockey the right horse is wrong jockey yeah I think that's you you did the right thing Dan you actually did went deep on the individual versus just the deal and I just kind of that was one of my biggest mistakes and I've only made kind of one of those I learned really quick from that so that's a really good point yeah I mean it was for me it was more about you know the so the the irrs the returns and all the all the pro forma numbers you know that's great but at the same at the end of the day you know do I trust the individual that's that's doing this to to be able to to uh to do what they said they're gonna do and that was that was really what I what I judged it on at the time now I know a lot more and I'm a lot more you know educated on on a lot of parts of the monthly family but the time that's that's for my first one that's really what I what I looked at okay so now your seasoned uh real estate investor and syndicator What markets with all this knowledge What markets in the U.S you kind of say you know what these are the places I want to put my money that you guys are looking for deals well and just to be clear I I still haven't I still have a lot of growth to go in terms of all of my expertise but um today you know after after being in this for a while I'm still a big fan of the southeast I'm still a big fan of Florida Georgia Texas you know Florida right now is going a little bit uh difficult Now with uh with insurance rates and things like that that are that are getting pretty high but but those those are areas that are just growing um you know like I uh I I recently bought a home which is another thing that I did for real estate investing I bought a home to turn into a short-term rental okay just north of Charlotte North Carolina and Charlotte is exploding I mean so the the whole Southeast is really an area that I think has a lot of of of attractiveness to it in terms of just the general demographic trends that are happening there excellent I agree I agree all those markers the same markets that I'm looking at too um now the the old get your magic ball out I always like to hear what's what's Dan's personal prediction of what's going to go on in the multi-family commercial real estate specifically multi-family the next six months a year right now it's really tough I know we're looking for deals we're not finding things that are really pencil as we say don't look really profitable when you do the projections so not a lot of deals are being done right now um what's your what are your thoughts on the future when's this going to turn around how long do we need to wait we've got lots of investors that are waiting for deals but we're not going to bring a deal just to bring a deal so what's your prediction yeah I mean the way I see things right now and from everything that I've read is that interest rates are going to still go up some more we're still not done with with uh the rate hikes and the FED is going to take their time to make sure that inflation is down to two percent that's their goal and they stated it many times we're not at two percent yet I think the last was over four so we still have a ways to go so um given that the interest rates are going to be somewhat higher for a while I have a feeling that at some point here we're going to start to see a lot more multi-family property is going on the market because their debt now is expiring and they and they have no options they can't they can't get a new loan at this huge at much higher rate now because of what's going on so uh maybe their rate cap is expired I mean who knows there's a lot of other things that could happen so I have a feeling that in the next six months or so we're going to see a lot more uh distressed opportunities and not distressed in the terms of their run down or they got any problems with them really distressed in terms of the financing and the way it was set up and um and you know two or three years ago there was no inkling that this would happen but not really makes you think about how you approach multi-family investing and making sure that you come up with these plans of things that that you think at the moment well interest rates could never go up that much um you know being prepared for those kinds of things is really important and as this last you know couple years have shown yeah I think that's true everybody would always have one Exit Plan well I'm going to sell it in six years or when I've doubled my investors money well maybe that doesn't work nowadays I think we've all look you know when we're looking at a deal we look at what are the what if I need to refinance what if I need to you know recapitalize the deal what if you know what are my other options and I think that's really made that now you're going to see the good operators really come into play and the mediocre ones are the ones that are going to have challenges so I think you're right in that I would agree with your assessment Dan yeah you're absolutely right Matt the the right now is the time for the strong operator um and the ones that can really operate well are the ones that are going to do well which is which is great I mean that's this is part of what makes real estate so interesting yes exactly exactly well very good you share some outstanding knowledge now we're going to move on to the lightning round Dan are you ready

ready fun questions just to get no get to know Dan a little bit better number one this is gonna be interesting what was your nickname as a child uh my nickname was uh Eddie so my my original name was Edgar my first name and uh this is funny not many people know this so I was I was born Edgar Daniel uh Daniel's my middle name and when I got to fourth or fifth grade I finally sat my parents down I said look I'm tired of being called Edgar I hate the name Edgar I want I want to change my name to my middle name and so they looked at each other and like well I guess it's like I want I want to do this with a judge I want this official so we went and we went to a judge and changed my name and so so when I was a kid it was it was Eddie yeah it's greater you're really you were really that convinced Okay this not this name

is an awesome name Edgar's pretty unique too though that's fascinating yeah I mean now looking back it's a fine name but as a kid I I just didn't like it I I don't know I mean it was just fourth grade thinking I guess I love it but I love your parents really listen to you most parents would just just said no you just go away whatever we gave you they actually went through the steps to legally change your name what great parent you have that's so wonderful question number two are you a morning person or a night owl definitely a morning person uh I find that to be the the best like like most people are asleep most people are not um online pinging me or anything it's very quiet time I can think I can you know so uh I love that about the morning and and I feel refreshed when I get up and out and I'm working in the morning so for me I think I'm more morning person wonderful very good number three what would be the first thing you do if you won the lottery

if I want I hate that I hate to sound cliche here but I would probably invest it in real estate it's probably the most common answers because I'm asking this this is the audience this is what you guys are gonna say most people say that yeah do they really yeah it's yes you know I mean it's it's uh it's one of those things you know it's this is a good example Matt of of of mindset so when you look at um the typical lottery winner in this country you know from what I understand you know they spend their money on cars on this on that all kinds of gadgets and things that they can buy with it um and very often end up with no money uh short a short time after that and to have the mindset to say you know what maybe that's not the best long-term approach for me and my family maybe it's better to put that money away into something that can make more money later um it's it's it's a mind shift and it's something that uh lottery winners are it's a great example of of that mind shift that you need to have and I think if if you're listening to this podcast then you probably have that mindset too uh the one we're talking about here so you know but um but it's just an example of the mindset shift that people need to make yeah I think that's why it's the I think the number is like 80 percent of lottery winners within a year or two are worse off than they were before they won the lottery worse off because they don't have the knowledge that we do when I ask this question we all know the value of long-term investing in real estate that's how most people become millionaires they've got some type of real estate in their portfolio so that's right it's a good answer number four if you could live anywhere in the world where would it be well um I would have to say in the United States for sure but I would um I would love to have uh somewhere in Spain a place to to live uh part-time and maybe my wife and I were kind of talking about this maybe having a property there that we would rent out as an Airbnb and have that as a rental as a real estate investment uh we could write off the trips out there for business and things like that so spoken like a true business person no by the way I can I can write that off that's great thinking I love that where in Spain is there a specific City well we really liked we were there uh about six months ago I really like Granada um beautiful beautiful southern Spain is just gorgeous uh it's warm uh the the beaches aren't too far away so uh so we love that but I'm sure you know you asked me again a year to I'll say well I just came back from this place and I thought who knows that's wonderful and the final question question number five what one piece of advice would you give to new investors to help them get better returns boy I would just say learn just learn learn you know read listen to podcasts uh but most of all I would say probably the biggest thing would be to talk to other people that have done what you're trying to do uh because you're going to get insights that you would never get otherwise you know listening to this podcast is a great way to educate yourself because you hear from different people on their different perspectives and on real estate and investing that that you're just not going to get so I'd say that's probably the biggest advice I have excellent excellent well thanks so much and thanks for being on the show Dan you're always fun to chat with I'm fortunate to have you as a friend thanks again this is great you know congratulations on the podcast I think it's it's awesome and uh and where can people find you to learn more about games yeah so they can if they want to I have a free uh download passive investor guide to real estate investing uh it's it's at so uh immigrantinvestor and then and then they'll find it there excellent and that will be in the show notes so take a look at the show notes you can contact Dan thanks again awesome thanks Matt you take care bye and that's a wrap thank you for listening to better returns brought to you by Hanson Holdings if you enjoyed this episode please leave a five star review because it helps others discover this valuable content if you would like to earn truly hands-off passive income go to where we help you invest in large apartment complexes to grow your family's wealth see you next week with another awesome episode have a great day