Justin Stoddart
Welcome back to The Think Bigger Real Estate Show. I’m your host Justin Stoddart, very excited about today for any of you that have aspired to be a real estate investor, and or you’ve aspired even to work with real estate investors. I know a lot of this audience is residential real estate agents wanting to serve people and help them not just buy and sell homes, but to really build wealth through real estate. Today’s episode is going to be ideal for you because you’re going to learn more about the commercial lending space from someonr that truly is an expert. Before I get into introducing him, I want to remind you that my mission is to wake you up to help you recognize the potential that’s within you, and then to inspire and help you to live a life in pursuit of that potential. And I’m grateful for the guests that come on because they are hand selected because people that can help us think bigger. So again, I want to welcome today’s guest Robert Barthelmess with BGI Capital. Truly an inspirational story, as well as now hehas built a small little company and brand that is helping a lot of people be real estate investors or better real estate investor. So Robert, I want to thank you for coming on to the show today. Very, very happy to have you here with us.

Robert Barthelmess
Justin, thank you for having me on your show. I’m a huge fan of your show. And I want to start by thanking you work for everything that you do for the industry, or the material that you put out there. It’s phenomenal.

Justin Stoddart
Awesome. Thank you, Robert. Really appreciate that. You know, Robert, I found that we have some things in common that we both have a love of family. I think that’s probably true of most people, but we probably take it to the next level. Robert has five children. I have six. Robert tell us really quickly. What is your favorite part about being a dad?

Robert Barthelmess
You know, jumping into the whole experience, right? It’s a very family oriented person, otherwise I wouldn’t have five kids. So it’s a really the whole the whole pie. Yes. Being able to give to them to be with them to guide them to form part of their lives.

Justin Stoddart
Powerful. You know, I’m a fan again, part of the thing, that the mission I have on the Think Bigger Real Estate Show it’s not just all about business. It’s about actually having business, either to an ideal life to a better life. And I think you probably feel that way as well as your career is a vehicle to help you with and serve the people that you love the most. So, you know, always fun being around people like you that all love family.

That’s kind of your core value. Let’s get into your story a little bit, right? You came here from Peru, and have had phenomenal success. I oftentimes, envy and please don’t take this wrong, because I know that there’s many, many benefits of being actually born here in the US, but it’s so I’m always so impressed by people who migrate here. And they come and they have amazing success as you have had. And I think there’s something about leaving a country that maybe doesn’t have the same fertile soil for

a business standpoint as the US does and you come here with a different perspective. And you maybe you don’t take it for granted like, you know, like maybe someone that they like myself would because I’ve always been that’s all I’ve ever known right? Would you say that moving here from somewhere else puts you in a in a unique position to be able to recognize how much opportunity there is here in the US?

Robert Barthelmess
Definitely, Justin, I am the biggest us fan that you will find. I am I consider myself an American. I moved to this country in 1982. So I am all I am everything USA one of the things that you find when when you come into this country is that it really is the greatest country in the world. Right, by different by different measures. It is the greatest country in the world for entrepreneurs. It really provides you with the with a full open platform where limitations really does exist. When you come from a country that is phenomenal. I love my I love my country as well. But when you come into the US, it’s like a blank canvas. Right? Being able to start a company, you log into the internet, you open an LLC in less than 10 minutes. You know, there’s there’s very little regulation, there’s very little limitations that keep you from being able to do what you want to do. If you’re looking for financial structure, if this is the capital center or across the world, so really, you know,

when you’re coming from outside from another country and you come into the US, you find that there’s such an incentive to explore and do, you know, do whatever it is that you want to get done. Again, I always say that I’m the biggest fan of this country, I think that it is the land of opportunity. If you’re in the US and you think of it you can create it.

Justin Stoddart
Boy that’s inspiring, Robert, just that in, in and of itself, you know, is worth, you know, having you on the show, I know, we’re just getting into the value, but you have some like you come in and say someone who’s who you know, who’s who’s lived somewhere else to, again, recognize is something as simple as opening up an LLC, something as simple as getting financing for you know, for property or for an idea. That’s just not it’s not the same in another country. And so I want to thank you for sharing that. Let’s talk a little bit about BGI capital. Tell us a little bit about what you do. And maybe the problem that you guys solve that maybe isn’t solved by some of the more traditional forms of funding.

Robert Barthelmess
So BGI capital is a full service commercial, real estate lending. One of the greatest advantages that our company has is we manage our own funding. Right. So we’re direct lender, our funds are discretionary. So decisions are made in house. So when we’re dealing with a lot of investors and you know, we work with a lot of seasoned investors, as well as with first time investors, one of the greatest advantages is that we can really sit down with our clients understand what their what their business plan is, guide them into their process, and make the tailor make a product specifically for them which works phenomenal for first time investors, right, we take the time to sit down with at work working through this whole process and put something that really helps them be successful.

One of the things that we do offer Justin aside from having our own private fund, we also full service commercial mortgage brokerage operation. So for the larger transactions for the more seasoned investors we can put together cans tructure deal integration with institutional national investors as well.

Justin Stoddart
That’s really, you know, what I see as some of the value right as you guys have the ability with your own funding, as well as the ability to go get it at a larger scale when necessary when needed. Would you say that not having what you just described keeps people from either starting or succeeding at a higher level because they don’t have someone who’s really kind of tailor making, and really even asking the questions of like, where is it you’re ultimately trying to go with this, right, I think sometimes banks just come in and say, I mean, they look at it on a project by project basis, without actually getting to know who are the people and what are the people’s goals. Right. And I think there’s a lesson in that for all of us that are in well paid sales profession, right, whether it be title, you know, whether it be real estate, whether it be lending. Moving into that more advisory roll, I think it’s critical for us remaining at this average transaction. But again, tell me, you see that that’s pretty unique in your industry. And am I right that a lot of banks and lending institutions look only at the project and not really like the people behind it?

Robert Barthelmess
Well, you know, first of all, I’m an ex banker. I always say that I’m a recovering banker. I was in banking for 20 something years. And I decided to, to venture out on my own a few years ago, and that’s how BTI capital comes comes about. But I found a great business partner, we’ve been able to do very interesting things together. But our relationships, are relationship driven, but regulation is hampering their ability to move as efficiently as they have to in a lot of cases. So that opens up opportunities for lenders, alternative lenders like us who are willing to look at transactions wit h a little more creativity. And to look at recessions a little bit outside of the box.

I think that’s one of the and we’ve seen this in a few cases where we have actually taken a client that comes into our fund, because they’re not ready to go the banking route. And we’ve been able to advise them to their first transaction. And by the time they’re in their second or third transaction, they’re able to go to a financial institution for more traditional financing structures. So I think when we thrive, where we do the best is when we can actually sit down with a client and look at what they’re doing now and what their, what their goals are in the future. And we can walk in and hold hands with that and go with it through the whole process. I think I think, you know, that’s one of the that’s one of the greatest values that we add to the relationship is with advisory, that advisory board that we serve?

Justin Stoddart
I love that. Again. I think that’s there’s probably no shortage of capital out there capitals, resources, right. But I think a lot of us sit on the sidelines. Because we don’t know how to get started. We don’t know that first step. Right. You guys obviously give advice to, you know, investors, one because you are an investor yourself and you’ve been on that side of the table somewhere to get a lot of our audience serve people at a really high level when it comes to, you know, helping them with their real estate transactions that they sit on the sideline as an investor for not knowing how to get started. What advice would you have for somebody who’s maybe ultimate goal is to own an apartment buildings, right? Yet, realizing can’t necessarily just start with a big apartment building. Like what like what blueprint would you lay out for somebody that was maybe in that squat because that’s the spot that I find my clients and his old school, they’d love to have multifamily apartment type situations Yeah, getting started this, you know can be fairly intimidating. What advice would you have?

Robert Barthelmess
I think that the biggest piece of advice that you can give a first time investor is do your homework. Right? I mean, if you’re looking to buy a multifamily are you it’s important that you are very clear on what that entails, what market are you going to be you want to be in? What kind of expenses? Are you going to incur? What are the expenses related to running up to running of the time? Right? So you really have to do your homework, you have to understand your market very well. You have to understand, you know, what the cost implications of the investment that you’re going to make and what kind of financing structure What do you need to do to be able to be approved for for finance. So homework in real estate as with any other ventures, it’s critical. Do your research.

Justin Stoddart
Do you feel like there are when people get started, they sometimes overlook some expense or they overlook something. Or they underestimate something is there kind of a typical pitfall that people run into? When they’re doing their homework that they don’t, don’t see something or they kind of glaze over something. I mean, there’s something kind of you see as a trend of people that, that maybe come in and don’t do their homework, like, what are they missing? Like one of the key components that they typically miss?

Robert Barthelmess
We find that sometimes, but I gotta tell you, another people that we that we end up interviewing that come and be with us for financing, they come pretty, pretty well prepared. Right? You know, sometimes you sometimes you miss a few of expenses. I mean, if we’re talking about a multi family, you know, one error, that we see the calculation of taxes and insurance expenses.

Right, you haven’t adjusted the tax expense for for the for the value of the purchase of the property that you’re doing and you’re working off of historical numbers. And maybe you’re not getting enough enough funds for your insurance expense in the market that we’re in in South Florida you know, we have to deal with Hurricane with wind insurance and that can get very costly. So, sometimes sometimes we find that they are under estimating what the expenses of the property are going to be. Sometimes we see that there are not putting enough of a contingency for vacancies, the market the market vacancy rate in South Florida right now, depending on where you are on a residential projects around, you know, three and a half to 5%. But it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re going to be hitting those numbers consistently, right? You have turnover, you have different factors that influence your actual vacancy. So we always ask, you know, we always ask our investors to just be a little conservative. To put a little cushion in there for the, for the unforeseen things that always that always come up, right, you might have to do an additional reasonable repair to the property that you weren’t thinking about. So that you have enough research in place. So that when something breaks that it’s not covered by insurance it doesn’t put you in a bad situation. So we do see some of those oversights. And we try to guide our investors through that process to make sure that they’re making their decisions based on factual information.

Justin Stoddart
That’s probably part of the great reason of working with a firm like yours that is very personal, right? You’re not a large institution. But you can actually get really personal and get into the weeds with people as far as things that they might be missing. You have great value in having a partnership with a firm like yours because again, you get that personal touch yet access to the big money necessary.

Robert Barthelmess
I’m sorry, I didn’t hear the last part of the question.

Justin Stoddart
Yeah, no, I see, it was more a statement that I can see the value of having a partner like capital, because it really gives you the ability to have someone who can very, very personal with you and even identify areas that you might have missed specially when you’re getting started. Yet also, you’ve got access to the banks have access to the biggest money, yet a very, very personal touch. I think that’s a pretty powerful combo in today’s world where a lot of offers are being commoditized because they all look the same, right? Very personal touch, personal concern. Even mentorship seems to be something really different.

Robert Barthelmess
And I think our business is a business of relationships, right? So if you’re in the real estate, business, whether you’re a lender or you’re an investor or you’re a realtor, you have to have a network of mentors or friends and you can run an idea by. But if you are an investor in real estate, you have to have very close relationships with with good realtors that can yhey give you the the right opportunity. And you always have to have a lender lined up.

Our business is a business of opportunity, right? We do find that if you find the right property, the person or the investor that it’s going to get that property is the investor that has the funding lined up already. So you know, that’s another piece of advice that the seasoned investors already use, you know, when they go and make an offer on a property, they know exactly how they’re going to fund that deal. And that gives them a much bigger shadow of actually getting the property. So kind of having those relationships are very important.

Justin Stoddart
Robert, this has been really helpful. Is there any kind of before I go to the final signature question of the show? Is there anything else that you want people to know about, about, again, the kind of the private lending and or even about your firm

Robert Barthelmess
Listen, I think that it’s important for everybody to know that there are great, great funds in America especially the real estate side, and we can have a north side, North American models, right. So it’s, it’s important that us as investors get into the business that they create, create their network. So we pride ourselves on providing our clients with with that personal personal service. I mean, and I don’t say that as lip service. In our organization we have a concept, if you call us you will get a call or you will be contacted by by by one of us before the sun goes down. They will all of us live by. So definitely putting our putting our stamp of great service on for BGI is important.

Justin Stoddart
Robert let me end with this this question, which is the signature question of the show, you’re obviously a big thinker. You’ve got a great firm yourself, you have an amazing story of coming here to the US and creating success. And now you have a firm that helps people create success through real estate. What is it that helps you to continue to be a big thinker to continue to expand your own possibilities, there’s something that you can teach us and share with us that would help us walk away be better big thinkers.

Robert Barthelmess
Well, let us circle back to how we started. First of all, we are all starting in, in a country in a place that provides incredible opportunities where where there are no limits. So if you’re in this industry that we have chosen to, to participate in, you’re always going to figure out where where you’re adding value. You know, if you’re on the sales side of the business. Where do you add value?

You have competition coming from everywhere, right? You’re selling real estate, you have competition coming in from other realtors from other technology platforms that are competing and taking some of your some of your money away. So you got to figure out where you add value. How do you how do you come up to a combination of service and technology? Because you cannot, you know, you cannot survive in this business without technology. Now, right we’ve had, we’ve had to adapt. So we invested, we invested resources into developing a platform that allows our brokers and allows our clients to be able to log into our into our website, follow the transaction, follow the loan, and see the status. Get a good idea of where they’re coming to the close. So we’re adding technology with with service. So if you’re in this industry, find your find your value proposition find your value proposition and put it out there.

Justin Stoddart
I love it. It’s stuff. Robert, I want to thank you again for coming on and sharing value. Be willing to, number one, create a great company, right that serves a lot of people. And secondly then be willing to come on and educate us and help us to be bigger speakers. So, again, thank you for coming on. And again my final request, everybody listening today are three simple words. And they are GO THINK BIGGER! Robert, thank you so much for coming on today and I wish you nothing but success look forward to staying in contact.

Robert Barthelmess
Justin, thank you very much for having me. I really appreciate the opportunity.

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