I came to America in 1995. The ticket from Pakistan to Detroit, Michigan was around $1200. I borrowed the money from everybody I could and ended up with $1500. The day I landed in Detroit, I had $243. That was my total net worth upon arrival in USA.
I worked minimum wage jobs for $5 / hour: cleaned bathrooms, worked in retail stores, nine in the morning to midnight for several months, 7 days every week without a day off. Six years after arriving in Detroit, I bought my first investment property in Detroit: a small 3 bedroom bungalow style property. I bought it using my then fiancée credit cards, continued to make every mistake one can in a first deal and then after 6 months ended up sold it for a profit.
It was a small profit. Not enough to retire on but enough for me to realize that Michigan and Detroit were a good market to do deal #2. I did five more properties, all small single family homes and duplexes while working full time, learned from every mistake and then finally quit my job and start developing residential rental real estate in Detroit, mostly single family homes in strong neighborhoods.
This was before the Great Recession. The Michigan market like most USA markets was 90% home buyers, folks who were buying homes for their own personal use. Investment real estate was not considered a mainstream asset class. There were no reality shows on TV about flipping homes. There were no hedge funds buying thousands of rental properties and attempting to securitize the rental cashflow. The phrase “turnkey rental properties” did not exist yet. We bought neglected properties, fixed them and sold them to people who were looking for a beautiful fully remodeled home and did it over and over again.
The recession came with a bang and after the initial shock of falling real estate prices, overnight the real estate market went from 90% home buyers to 90% investors.
We pivoted our business model from developing homes for home buyers to developing rental properties for investors. As the recession start to end in Michigan and the auto industry rose from its bankruptcy to new financial strengths, we saw the inventory levels of available properties in the areas that we liked and had focused on over the years, started to go down.
I had always wanted to expand into apartments and this was the perfect signal for us to refocus our energy, experience and team into acquiring, remodeling and operating apartments in Detroit and its suburbs with our capital partners. We started with a 20 unit development in 2016, and going forward our plans including acquiring and also converting other commercial structures (churches, schools, hotels) into affordable housing apartments in Detroit and its suburbs.
Michigan is a great market with one of the lowest vacancy rates for apartments in all USA. The self-driving car technology is once in a lifetime technological change in the auto industry and as the auto industry capital of the world, Michigan is positioned at the top to take advantage of this huge revolution.
We are working on several affordable housing apartment projects in Detroit and its suburbs. Read here how we work with our capital partners and then go to our contact us page here to schedule a phone call with me to discuss how you can be our capital partners in our upcoming apartment deals in Detroit and its suburbs.