Working Capital The Real Estate Podcast

Breaking into CRE with Youtuber Justin Kivel|EP25

Oct 28, 2020

In This Episode

Justin Kivel is a Real estate investor and founder of Break into CRE, an education platform that helps aspiring real estate investment professionals advance their careers and do better deals through real estate financial modeling and analysis training.

In this episode, Justin shares how he helps real estate professionals who are trying to break into the commercial real estate market.  We discuss development, brokerage, private equity and more.


Links and Resources:

Real Estate Finance and Investments Risks and Opportunities by Peter Linneman

Confessions of a Real Estate Entrepreneur by James Randel

Connect with Justin Kivel



Jesse (1s):

Welcome to the Working Capital The Real Estate Podcast. My name is Jesse Fragale. And on this show, we discuss all things real estate with investors and experts in a variety of industries that impact real estate. Whether you’re looking at your first investment or raising your first fight, join me and lets build that Portfolio one square foot at a time. Or at least,

Justin (21s):

And gentlemen, I have Justin Kivel on the show today. Really excited for this episode a little bit different than our, than our normal type of guests. Justin is the founder of Break into series. Some of you will know will know that if you’ve been on social media and any aspect whatsoever, it is basically a leading resource for real estate, financial modeling and career online training. And to date, I believe they’ve helped over 30,000 students master real estate financial modeling, advanced their careers and land jobs at top real estate investment development and brokerages across the globe. Justin how’s it going? It’s going great, man. Thanks for, thanks for having me on it. Awesome. Well, like I said, I’m super excited to have you on, I’ve kind of followed you online for a number of years now.

Justin (1m 5s):

And I think I just kind of joking around before the show, we were talking to how, you know, commercial real estate can come sometimes be a little behind when it comes to social media. So what I like for you to tell the listeners is, first of all, you know who you are, your, your background and in real estate and how you came to, to do what you’re doing today. Yeah, no problem. So I started out in a real estate, probably similar to a lot of people in that I, I knew of people for me, it was specifically a family member who had invested in real estate and they had a pretty great life. I thought kind of as a result of that.

Justin (1m 45s):

So I decided to go down the real estate path because I was looking at okay. I, I really liked math. I really like kind of tangible buildings traveling to new cities. This seems like it could be a really good fit for me. So I had the opportunity to join a family business. My great grandfather was a developed in Tucson, Arizona. So he built up a shopping malls and regional shop a and bought a bunch of apartment complexes and mobile home parks and just some kind of piecemeal properties that build the portrait over time.

Justin (2m 26s):

But he died in 1995. So for about 20 years it was hanging out, not doing much. So after I graduated college, there was an opportunity to do to go there. And I worked in basically in asset management capacity. So we weren’t really buying as much. We were just managing deals. And at that time I was 2011, 2012 to 2014 as I was working there, I was thinking of is getting a little bit too tunnel vision. And if that makes sense. So it was in a relatively small city and I was a young guy wanted to move to Southern California.

Justin (3m 7s):

And so basically what I did well was I decided to go to business school to see it, the kind of how the institutional players do it and to be around some really sharp real estate investors. Ah, so that’s what I did. So I went to UC Irvine for my MBA, had the opportunity to intern at three different shops. So I worked at a MIG real estate, which is about a $2 billion Portfolio at this point to work at a company called HFF, which is now a part of JLL. A and so I was working in retail and office sales there and I was, do end up working for them in San Diego, long story short, I met my life at business school.

Justin (3m 54s):

She had a job lined up in San Diego. So we were headed down in San Diego from orange County. And basically what happened was that was packaging up a deal for a client. And they said, Hey, we need a senior associate. It was a great entrepreneurial type opportunity. And we went and worked for them after business school, down in San Diego. And it was awesome, a really, really great training ground to basically be a hands on Entrepreneur in a sense with a salary. So I was doing everything there, asset management acquisitions. So in investor relations, I mean, it was, it was an excellent opportunity.

Justin (4m 34s):

I loved it. I was just really focused on getting to the multifamily side. And then I went to Fairfield, residential, which at that time was a subsidiary of Brookfield. And I worked in multi-family acquisitions. There had a great time, really, really enjoyed the people that I worked with and just, you know, overall. And essentially I had a consulting opportunity come up and I was like, okay, I’m going to take a shot at this and see what happens. And during that time trying to figure it out, I thought, well, there’s, there’s an opportunity here for maybe an educational platform.

Justin (5m 13s):

I’ve, I’ve been on the receiving end of hell of being helped trying to figure out how to make it in this industry. And I feel like I didn’t have a great resource for me when I was trying to go through this. So I kind of start over to try and create one and they started with a few videos Yeah and just kind of grew from there, my interest and, and yeah, it was kind of long winded way of saying where I am today, but yeah, that’s right background. That’s been a lot of different things in the real estate industry, which I think good, excellent. Because I’m able to see different parts of the business and meet a lot of really smart people, right. Who were much more than, than me and see how they look at and analyze deals and to also be in very different situations with different companies as well, to see the inner workings of that, how that kind of hiring process goes and basically how to be successful and those types of rules.

Justin (6m 12s):

So yeah, that’s, that’s the, the breakdown.

2 (6m 16s):

Yeah, that’s really cool. You know what, you’re not the first person I’ve heard say that, you know, they’ve gone to do an acquisitions job and that was kind of a breeding ground for them to be entrepreneurial in the future. And it, it kind of makes sense. I mean, any of the colleagues I work with that are in the acquisition teams, it’s really as close as you can get to being the investor, but working within the shop, right. You’re looking at deals, you’re underwriting them. So how did that play into kind of what you’ve created today online and in terms of the education that you have with kind of the acquisition hat on, you know, how did that influence what your, what you’re currently doing today?

Justin (6m 52s):

Yeah, it was a great question. So there are a lot of people in the commercial real estate space that understand real estate at a paper levels. So they can underwrite deals from in, in, in that. But what makes somebody a really valuable asset to a company and how they can break into the industry or advance their career in the industry is, is really being able to apply that in a live deal scenario. So when I was first starting to think about creating content, I knew going through the educational process and trying to find things outside of just being on the job and also outside of traditional academia, a lot of the content out there, if there wasn’t much out there, but the stuff that was out there felt very high level and kind of like a paper or real estate investor, if you will.

Justin (7m 40s):

So what I want to do was create a resource that applied kind of hands on real life experience of doing deals and then mesh that with the institutional best practices of this is how you create an Excel model. And this is what the expectation is when you’re working with either institutional investors or if you are actually just an employee and you’re an analyst or an associate, what are you gonna have to do if you work for a big company like a Brookfield or Goldman Sachs, what does that look like? And what are the expectations? Because for me is it really felt like a black box when I was first trying to get into this industry.

Justin (8m 21s):

Right. It felt like it was very intimidating. I mean, a lot of guys that are great in the industry and they’re willing to talk to you, but there are some places that you are going where you will step into an office and it kind of feels like an ivory tower, right? You’re just, you’re really, and, and there are, it can be some status things going on where people are protective of their space. It, it can be intimidating when you first start out. And so what I really wanted to do was be that guy that I had when I was starting out, that the guys that were in five years to me did for me on a smaller scale, and I want to do that on a larger scale. So that’s kind of how my platform evolved and still how I operate my business in the sense of, I want to be that, that support for people and make this process less intimidating and not any more complicated than it has to be, because it’s, it can be overwhelming to start with.

Justin (9m 16s):

And there is no need to make it even more overwhelming or complex.

2 (9m 20s):

Yeah. So I have found that in the industry, its been somewhat similar from my experience in that a lot of the guys and gals, it ended up being in commercial real estate, usually have somebody in their family that has been in commercial real estate at some point, and that they have a connection usually from the family or, you know, it’s a very close friend. So what I’ve found is that guys come at a business school and, and then they come in to CRE. And what I found is that its, it is hard for people that are outside of our industry to actually crack into the industry in general. And it sounds like that’s somewhat similar to the experience that you’ve had or you’ve seen. So I guess the question is w what do you do in terms of trying to help people break into CRE that say they have had no experience in the commercial real estate world that are just in university right now, maybe a couple years in and they were starting to look at their prospects post a post University.

Justin (10m 14s):

Yeah. So, so number one is I, I try to equip them with a technical skillset that that really matters in, in commercial real estate, because you can go out and you can learn an Excel and its great. If you know, Excel and Excel is an important piece of it, but you need to be able to put it together with real estate finance knowledge. And there are specific things in commercial real estate underwriting in analysis that you’re going to be expected to do on on day one of a job. So what I like to do first is when someone who is coming in are totally raw and it has no experience and maybe is in school right now. That’s a great opportunity to merge what you’re doing right now in school with learning the technical aspects of underwriting and modeling, because that’s really how you’re going to add value from day one.

Justin (11m 4s):

I mean you and I both started in the industry. At some point, we got our start in the beginning. When we first started in our first job, you, you don’t have context. You know, you have done a deal before you don’t understand the whole entire process, but something that you can do to add value, no matter how inexperienced you are is if you understand Excel and you can modify a, a, a model or create a model from scratch. There’s a lot of older guys in the industry who are out doing deals, who either don’t want to do this anymore. And they’ve, they’ve spent their time and they’re there done and they’re onto the next thing. Ah, they don’t have time to do it. Or there’s, there’s a lot of really seasoned guy in the industry who don’t actually don’t know how to do it.

Justin (11m 48s):

And so if, if you can come in with a really strong Excel skill set where you are able to do things like model out 10 years of cash flows or build an equity waterfall model, or do some of these things that you are seeing on job descriptions, your, your going to be able to add a lot of value from day one. And that’s, that’s one of the biggest wins for people looking to break into the industry without experience ’cause you can come in and you already have the, a large portion of the training you need to get started. And the company that you work with is going to have a way of underwriting deals, right? They’re going to, they’re going to look at certain deals in this state, in this state in a certain way, or they are going to look at a certain deals with this kind of re risk profile in a certain way.

Justin (12m 35s):

And you can learn all of those things and you will learn those things on the job. But what, what companies don’t want right now is especially right now, when hiring is so tight, is they don’t, they don’t want someone that’s a liability on the Excel side, right? They don’t want somebody that doesn’t understand the real estate cashflow statement. And also doesn’t understand the basic calculations Write cap rate, IRR equity, multiple cash on cash. They want all of those things taken care of because those are things that you can learn on your own and you don’t need to be on the job to learn it. And then everything else is just reps and, and training over time. So what I really try to do is give people that technical framework and knowledge, and then apply that at the same time to what they’re going to actually be doing on the job and whether that’s at a mega, a huge corporation or a smaller Onpro entrepreneurial firm.

Justin (13m 33s):

I try to blend my experience in both to make it applicable to both scenarios because to companies in commercial real estate can be completely different than one another and can operate completely differently. So I feel like that’s why I said in the beginning of this, I I’m really grateful that I’ve had so many different experiences in the industry because I’ve been able to see how different companies do things and it, it can be extremely different. So my students and members of my program really come from all facets and are looking to go into all different facets of commercial real estate, but the technical component and skill-set is something that you can really tackle before you get into the industry.

Justin (14m 19s):

And that is going to set you apart from, from so many people when, especially in the competitive job environment like we are seeing today.

2 (14m 27s):

Yeah, for sure. And I think a lot of times with, with brokerages or, or real estate investment companies in general, be able to use, you know, an accounting degree, your economics degree are a finance degree as a proxy for exactly what you are talking about, that, that, you know, that there are at least there’s going to be an understanding of how to do a discounted cashflow or they are going to know some of this certain things. One, one thing I, I also tell a younger people that are trying to break in and I’ve seen it in your videos is understanding that the terminology of our industry, you know, it’s one thing that will set you apart from a other people, even, you know, right out of school, or even after that, where you can, like you said, not only understand being able to have that technical aspect, but understanding a little bit more deeply, you know, what net, you know, what net rent means, what are, what are additional rent?

2 (15m 11s):

You know, what our expense reimbursement stuff that we say all the time and I hate jargon and any industry, but, you know, our industry is it’s jargon. I mean, in their terms for a reason, right? Because there is nuance in a way. And so if you had somebody, you know, you have somebody that comes to you that let’s say he wants to get onto the development side rather than say brokerage. And you know, their, their getting their Excel skills, they are getting them, you know, where they need to be now from an actual, you know, whether you are going to a high or a Brookfield and you want to break into some of these larger companies, where, where are you telling them to go? And what are you telling them to do aside from what we just talked about, you know, preparing yourself in terms of actually reaching out to these companies and, and landing a role.

Justin (15m 57s):

Yeah. So a lot of my content on YouTube is very focused on this. And then I have quite a bit of content within my programs and courses on this as well. But I mean, just like everyone says in, in, in real estate, your network is extremely important. And especially when you’re talking to me about somebody who is in college, either undergraduate or graduate program, you are, you really have more free rein than ever to reach out to people, especially alumni and say, Hey, I’m looking to break into this industry. I would love to just hear what you do. And, and there are a lot of people out there and most people will enjoy talking about themselves.

Justin (16m 40s):

A most people will do will really remember that time. I remember that time very well. I looked back at some of my LinkedIn messages and my emails and I cringed, Oh my God. Yeah. It was just so aggressive with this. And I would just fire off these emails. My goal, when I went up, when I got a into my MBA program was I, I want to just sit down with at least two new people a week and sit down and it could mean having coffee a day or sit down and it could mean getting on the phone, but I wanted to really get different perspectives to see where I fit best in the industry. So it’s kind of a two pronged approach.

Justin (17m 20s):

And this is, this is why I interned at so many different places because I wanted to see where, where I fit in best. But for people who are looking to break in, aside from the technical component, I would say, number one, try and use whatever your current situation is. So whether you’re in a university, a grad school or your you’re a career switcher, and maybe you’re in a different part of Finance and you have a buddy who’s working in real estate right now, use, use that to have that as in, to start building the network and really understand what different parts of the business do. And if that would be the right fit for you personally, based on your personality type, because there are a lot of different things that you can do in real estate.

Justin (18m 7s):

And maybe you don’t have the kind of outgoing nature to be an investment sales broker, but maybe you are really analytical and you want to be on the underwriting in portfolio analysis side at a major company. And there’s a huge career upside in both of those things and the most career upside from what I’ve found personally, and from people who have been successful in my programs are the people who are kind of follow what they, what they really want to do and who, who they are, right? Like you, you’re not going to be. And in most cases that I’ve seen, you’re not going to be successful if you’re, you’re really trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.

Justin (18m 49s):

So if you know that you’re super outgoing guy and you love building relationships and you love networking, then, then investment sales could be great for you or any sort of brokers could be great for you, but if its not, then you’re probably going to struggle. And so just being aware of where you fit in the industry and trying to build your network and using your situation to your advantage is, are two things that are again, massive pieces of the puzzle aside from just learning the technical.

2 (19m 19s):

Yeah. I think there’s this, there’s this push a, or has been this push in the past from an education or from an educational point of view too, you know, shore up the areas that you’re not as strong as well. And I always thought the opposite. It’s like find out what you are strong and kill that. Yes. And like even myself, like on the Investing and a brokerage side, they have no problems speaking with people know problem, you know, going out and networking where I have colleagues like they’re, they’re terrified of that. And then the flip side, I don’t mind underwriting deals, but I, you know, getting into the, the minutia of, of certain, you know, waterfall models or building them, I would rather just not do that at all.

2 (19m 59s):

And there is no sense you taking all of that opportunity costs and basically trying to get yourself up to average when you are already Excel in another area, we would you agree with that?

Justin (20m 10s):

I totally agree with that. And I, I have, I get this question so much where people will see my content and they know that its pretty analytical training. Yeah. And they’ll say, well, I, I want to be an acquisition or director or head of acquisition at XYZ company. And

2 (20m 29s):

I. But I really

Justin (20m 31s):

See myself as a leader and I don’t see myself sitting behind a computer screen and I, I just can’t see that being MI. And what my response to that is is generally like if you are an acquisition director or even at the highest level is you’re going to be reviewing, like you’re going to, you’re going to have some sort of deal structure. That’s going to come in that you’re probably not going to trust someone with one to two to two years of experience to build out for you. So you’re going to need to step in and do that. And at every level in between you need to be able to review models, see how different assumptions are going to tweak your models. And so it it’s, it’s a tough, you don’t need to be.

Justin (21m 14s):

My recommendation is generally to make sure that your end goal is aligned with what you like to do. And that the process is enjoyable because like I said, there are so many different avenues you can take in this business and they’re all so different. And so if you like real estate and you want to learn more about real estate, most people get into this industry. And in my experience, and what I hear from just members and student feedback is people want to get into this industry. A lot of the times For in the kind of a high Finance commercial real estate component ’cause they ultimately want to own their own real estate or they want to own their own deals. Like many people who get into this industry are entrepreneurial.

Justin (21m 55s):

They don’t plan to work for someone forever. And so really understanding like, Hey, where am I strong? Because even if you want to do your own deals, you can always hire someone or partner with someone who’s better at that than you are right now. And I’ve seen that so many times with people. I think you, you are probably a good example that somebody who are partners with someone who was maybe stronger in another area and you do what you do best. I remember I was, I was looking at an asset management role maybe in 2016 or something, some at some period where I was looking to get back into multifamily and wanted to focus on multi-family.

Justin (22m 35s):

And I had one of my mentors and one of the guys that I invest with today as a limited partner in M has really been helpful in my career. I was, I asked them, should I go into asset management? And he was like, well, do you want to be an asset manager? And I said, well, no, not really. But I think it would be a really good thing for me to really see at a high level at an institutional, from an institutional perspective, How this is done. And B the guy, how the power of the pro’s do it, so to speak. Yeah, exactly. And I had done it on, on smaller scales and for retail in an office at, at higher levels, but not specifically for multi-family. And what he said to me is he said, well, if, if you ended up going out and doing your own deals, you can hire that.

Justin (23m 19s):

You can hire someone who can do that for you. And since that time I’ve always had that in the back of my head, a he actually ended up going out on zone and doing just that. And also I’ve, I’ve seen that in time and time again, where a, maybe you have a guy that’s really has a great network and can find deals. And then you have somebody else who can line up the, the capital and financing and all of that. And they don’t have someone that maybe is to operational and they can just hire that. Whereas I’ve also seen people who have been very successful coming from the operation side, but maybe they don’t have access to capital, or maybe they, they don’t really have a great acquisitions track record, but they know how to actually execute on a business plan, a and staying with your asset management or acquisitions or whatever you like to do and getting really, really, really good at that.

Justin (24m 14s):

One thing is going to help you make a lot of money and also enjoy what you’re doing a lot more. So just to tie it all back together, I would say for people who are looking to break into the industry that I want to be in real estate, but maybe they don’t want to have just have a brain full of Excel every day or, or they can get on the phone. Like you said, you know, there’s still probably a place for you. You just need to be aware of that and go with them.

2 (24m 42s):

Yeah, for sure. I mean, that’s the one beautiful thing about real estate. It’s like you are as an investor, at least you’re building a team, right. And every component of that team is usually a different, a person with a different disposition than the other, you know, the asset manager of the property manager, the limited partner, the investor, you know, the guy that’s a underwriting in analyzing deals. So there’s all these, all these different areas that I think will be a skill set that you can have, but, and, and to partnering, you’re absolutely right. And we talk about it on the show a lot, you know, we don’t find a partner that you are both bringing the exact same thing to the table. If you’re both bringing in capital and you’re both great and underwriters, you know, maybe partner with them, but at a, at a third member to that team that actually compliments, you know, compliments you so that you can actually go out and be well rounded as a, as a company.

2 (25m 32s):

So for you, you know, I could be wrong, but it just seems from talking with you and just seeing your videos, that by nature, you seem a little bit more analytical and it kind of flies in the face of putting yourself out there and being on YouTube. So when you decided to start doing videos and going on social media and stuff like that, well, first of all, am I right? And, and number two, w you know, what was that process like? It was, it, was it difficult for you to kind of put your face out there? Because I know it’s, you know, even for myself, it’s like, yeah, I’m pretty outgoing guy, but you know, you’re watching videos of yourself and it’s sometimes it’s pretty cringy.

Justin (26m 5s):

Oh man. You’re, you’re spot on. So yeah, I, I don’t, I don’t love it. I don’t love the, the spotlight. I mean, I, I’ve a very small channel in comparison to other YouTubers out there that really do this for living a life. But again, it was like, I felt like this information needed to be out there and you start to get, I mean, you, you have a very public platform as well. And so I’m sure you start to see these, these messages come in from people saying this really helped me do X, Y, Z.

2 (26m 36s):

So it’s the only thing that keeps me going, man. Oh, yeah.

Justin (26m 40s):

It’s, it is honestly a really cool like that. It sounds like a, of BS sometimes, but it, it really matters and the stuff you’re doing really matter. So yeah, I, I’m not a great YouTuber right. Like I do the same thing in every single video, every single time. It’s the same background. I don’t, I don’t, I’m not great with B roll or any of that kind of stuff. You’re right. I’m very analytical. I love my courses because in so many of those courses are very Excel-based. And so I’m just walking through this with people and it’s not all about me. It’s about what are you building, right. Yeah. And so on YouTube, and it was very difficult to get started, and it’s still difficult to this day, but I feel like that basic content around just how to break into the industry and, and general analysis concept.

Justin (27m 33s):

That was something that when I was first getting started, I would have killed for it. I was just, it didn’t feel like there was anything in the middle. Right. So you, you have, you have the very high level, just very, very academic information, and yes, that’s great. And you should know all that. And then you had the other side of this spectrum that is like the financial freedom with, multi-family like all of those, you, if you know what I’m saying, like a a hundred percent of those things, those things can be great, but I didn’t, I felt like, well, I kind of, I kind of want to learn this at a high level, but I also want to be able to apply it. And I want, I want someone to talk to me, like, if, if, if I’m in an office with a guy that’s three years ahead of me, that he can sit down with me and say, Hey, dude, like, this is, this is how you do this.

Justin (28m 22s):

This is what you do. This is why you do it. And you’re going to be OK. You know? Cause yeah, you’re right. I’m to super analytical guy. Like when I first started out and I didn’t know anything in those days in the office, we’re really nerve-wracking. I mean, just, I, for sure, always worry that you’re going to get an assignment that you don’t know how to do. And so being able to be in someone’s corner is, is a really cool thing. And it’s kind of like a pay it forward thing. I’d talked about a mentor that I had, and I, I have so many guys who have been successful in the past who have taken so much time with me when I was first getting started, really trying to help me learn the ropes and listening to all of my stupid questions and really helping me find my way.

Justin (29m 11s):

And without those people, I, I would not be doing what I’m doing today. And so when, when I talk to people and when I create content and when I create courses it’s around that, right? Like helping that guy, that was me, that was so nervous and trying to, trying to figure everything out and piece everything together and failing a lot in that process. I’m a lot of times with, with things I talked about that entrepreneurial firm that I worked with, there were a lot of things that, that it was just me. I mean, you usually have some sort of training wheels in it. It was just me. And if I messed up M I’m in trouble. And so what I want to do is create that kind of safe space resource, where someone could come back to whether they have a job or they are looking for a job that maybe they run into something.

Justin (30m 0s):

And they’re like, Oh no, I don’t know how to do this. They can come back to a course or my platform or a brick in a CRE Academy has a coaching feature. You can come back to me and say, Whoa, this was a, an experience that I wasn’t expecting. What are your thoughts or something like that. So that’s kind of how I try to run my platform as a whole. Yeah,

2 (30m 22s):

That’s great. And I mean like the, the, we were talking about this before the show, like if, to me, you say it’s a smaller channel, but like there on the real estate spectrum of channels on YouTube, like you said, you have the ones that are very, like, it reminded me of the 1990s. Infomercial’s like, there is a red Ferrari in three blonds and you’re like, you get into real estate and there’s a side that you’re actually, you’re in, not only are you in a, in real estate on YouTube. So that kind of makes the pool even smaller. You are in commercial real estate, which makes it a belief in smaller. And then you’re really like on the side of people are actually going in and being practitioners, not necessarily investors. So the, the fact that it’s as large as it is, is, is incredible to me. But I think you’re absolutely right too. Like the thing, you know, any time that you’re like, Oh, well, what’s the point of putting these videos out or S you know, maybe in, at the beginning when you were putting yourself out on social media and it goes for anybody listening that wants to get themselves out there, you get that one message from a, from somebody, you know, and an Idaho or something.

2 (31m 16s):

And I was just like, Hey, this video is really impactful for me. And it really helped me in this way. And that definitely fuels kind of your, the creativity that you have, but the last few videos that I’m, you know, I saw it from you, we’re very, very topical. They are talking about kind of looking for jobs within the downturn. M talking about how your underwriting deals today, interest rates and where they are. So I think as long as they stay topical, they’re always adding value. What I wanted to ask you, though, in terms of the actual courses that you do. I mean, we were talking about this a little bit before the podcast, but that, you know, your YouTube channel, you said it was on the smaller end. But to me, the idea that there’s a YouTube channel that is in commercial real estate, you know, that’s a very specific area to begin with.

2 (32m 0s):

So I think you’ve, you know, you’ve put out a bunch of great content, whether it’s interest rates, whether its underwriting deals, the question I had was more so about the courses that you do. So when you, you see the content that you have in YouTube and how are the course is different and maybe how do they allow you to do things that perhaps you can’t do on YouTube?

Justin (32m 21s):

Yeah. Great question. So YouTube is like, we talked about it, right? I mean, you have a, YouTube is a gigantic platform and if you’re kind of catering to 18 to 30 year olds, most of those people are also watching other videos on YouTube, right? So there is, there is a little bit of a high-level overview that needs needs to be incorporated into most of these videos, even though they can get pretty granular. What I can’t do on YouTube is walk through an entire model build out, right? So if you’re trying to build a multi-family acquisition, proforma, and you are starting from scratch, and this is something that you’re trying to learn for a day, maybe a job that you have I have, or, or, or preparing for a, an Excel interview exam.

Justin (33m 4s):

That’s a great, great example where I have a course that’s literally nine hours of just preparing for Excel interview questions that you might end up getting when you’re interviewing for a small firm or a big firm. So I can’t go as it nearly as in depth on the Excel modeling side. And I also can’t share resources. So there’s Al I mean, every single course that I have has some sort of either an Excel training file, which I, I took some courses that were just Excel based when I was first starting out. And I found these, basically these, these step-by-step Excel training files where you’re doing something with the instructor, and then you have a solution right there to check that with you.

Justin (33m 56s):

I felt, I found that very, very helpful. So most of my courses really start with that base of here. These are the, this is the foundation, and we’re going to build these things together and build on this foundation throughout the entire course. And then maybe will have a more advanced section where will have at the end of the course, a, a full case study where you’ll be building out a full model, or maybe you’ll be doing an evaluation of a sample feel. And then we have the more advanced courses, which are really focused on building an entire model from scratch. Like something that you would be either working in, in kind of an institutional setting, or you would be expected to create or modify or whatever that looks like.

Justin (34m 39s):

But yeah, and you on YouTube at YouTube is great for a lot of the career related stuff, because that can be, those can be quick seven to 10 minute videos, but for people who are really looking for the training, I mean, some people will reach out to me and say, Hey, I’ve been watching a YouTube videos. They’ve been super helpful, and those are great for high-level overviews and behavioral type of things when you’re, when you were trying to prepare for an interview. But if you really want the technical skillsets, that’s something that I can’t offer on, on YouTube. And that’s really where the course content comes into play. And for people who are really looking to break into the industry and master real estate financial modeling and, and be that person that you step into a role in your valuable from day one, or you step into an interview and, and then the hiring manager, it goes, wow, this person is exactly what we need.

Justin (35m 31s):

We got to get this guy. And that’s what you want. And. And that’s really where the course has come into play. Where are those? That’s how I train people to end up being over here,

2 (35m 42s):

You know? And, and it’s, I, I think I’ve seen the same thing where I’d put out, you know, YouTube videos where it’s say it’s going through a deal and, you know, you get, you always get a message. Hey, can you send me that Excel file? Yeah. And, and it’s like, you are exactly right. Like, you can talk about interest rates. You can talk about the state of the economy, you know, in a five to 10 minute video. But once you start getting in the weeds a a hundred percent, I could see how, you know, just another platform is a little bit easier.

Justin (36m 7s):

Yeah. It’s, it’s, it’s a lot easier in it. And also there’s, there’s a dialogue two, right? Like there are comments on YouTube, but again, that’s not a constructive place to have a conversation. So, so for a single standalone classes, My anyone who joins my program or joins my individual, the individual courses, they can ask me questions on the course content directly within that course player. So if they have a question as they are going through something they can ask, they can ask that question. And my, my focus is making sure that, that they understand that question and they understand the answer very, very thoroughly, again, like not this brief one sentence or a one word, answer it, but I want to make sure that its really clear what, what they’re doing, what they’re trying to sell the answer to the question that they are asking.

Justin (37m 2s):

So there is that, and then on my full Break in a CRE Academy platform, there’s also a dedicated coaching communication. So people can actually reach out to me directly for career advice on their specific situation, even if it’s outside of course content. So again, I’m, I’m in, I’m in this persons corner, right? If, if there trying to prepare and they have specific questions for their specific situation though, that’s how I can help people do that. So its really that next level of help and guidance to get people where they are. Right.

2 (37m 37s):

I guess that would also be helpful for listeners that are on the investment side that they’re, you know, say that there were, there are entrepreneurials are, are entrepreneurs already in real estate and they are looking at an asset that they want a specific model For or kind of understand how to underwrite it. Would that be the Avenue that they would go maybe on the coaching end? Yeah.

Justin (37m 56s):

Ah, so I, I tend to stay away from, from the actual deal analysis. And I, I do, I do consulting separately, which is really doing that and doing a lot of real estate, financial modeling and analysis on behalf of clients. And so that is kind of a separate thing in the Academy. Coaching is really focused on career coaching career, but yeah, for people who do want more of a kind of deal analysis or underwriting or looking with help with building a model for their own deal, there’s a consulting form on my site that people can reach out to me directly through that and not taken on new clients at the moment. I’ve got a handful of, of groups that I worked with and that I really enjoy working with, but just trying to manage everything.

2 (38m 41s):

Yeah, no, no. A hundred percent. Okay. Well listen, we we’re almost at a time here. I usually do a few quick questions at the end here. A little bit of rapid fire style. So if you’re ready I’ll I’ll fire away. ReadyMan okay. So for now it doesn’t have necessarily have to be real estate, but you know, most people on the show do you answer in the real estate space, favorite book that’s helped you in your life

Justin (39m 6s):

And in your space. Ooh, favorite book it’s helped me with what I’m doing. I’m going to give to, and this is a very consistent with my platform. A number one is real estate finance and investments by Peter Linneman

2 (39m 19s):

They say Linneman that let them and I got to get I’m on the show.

Justin (39m 22s):

No, it’s, it’s real. It’s a great textbook. And I refer people to that textbook because it talks to you in an academic way, but it also talks to you in a way of, Hey man, this is what is what you need to know. A and it’s understandable and it’s not, not too big, not too short. It’s it’s wonderful. So that really helped me put everything into context and I’ve really focused on understanding everything in that book to, as I worked through it, another one that I don’t hear talked about all that much is a book called confessions of a real estate entrepreneur by a guy named Jim Ray Handel. I think he’s out on the East coast. And I think he actually was an adjunct professor at NYU or one of those East coast universities.

Justin (40m 8s):

And that, that book is all about his hands on experience. And it’s it’s a long time ago, but it has some great lessons about things like conversions into different uses and just how much money can be made in real estate. If you do things correctly and if you structure deals and the right way and structure your financing and the right way, and it’s really the N in the trenches guide, really for people who wanna do their own thing, or maybe you want to do their own thing one day, I I’ve really strongly recommend that book. ’cause that, that will really give you a hands-on look into this is, this is what it’s like, and this is what the opportunity is.

Justin (40m 48s):

And this is also what the risks are. Its funny like the, the Lindemann book, his, the subtitle is Risks and opportunities and it does go through it in more of like an academic way. Yeah. But this, this other book, this is Confessions a real estate entrepreneur really goes through it. Like, you’ll see the opportunity of these guys who did this deal and made this many millions of dollars in 45 days versus like the more a versus the Risks, which are these guys who lost a bunch of money doing this. So yeah, I think they both are really helpful.

2 (41m 18s):

Okay. That’s great. And it will just add on the Linneman point what’s what’s great about his book, like many textbooks, is it his appendix a is very in depth so that when he does, you know, one thing in chapter two, you know, and that little S you know, super script you can actually go into the appendix will be like, okay, now I can kind of see how the broke down or, or kind of a little bit more of a deeper dive. Okay. So you mentioned a little bit earlier, but who are, is one or a few of the mentors that helped you out, ah, at the time,

Justin (41m 44s):

Right. And your career. Yeah. So a lot of guys that you, you wouldn’t have heard of, but they are the presidents and CEOs of a, some major real estate investment firms. Both of them are in orange County and local San Diego, but a few guys in San Diego, but it’s really guys who have been there and done that and, and have done a lot of the things that are necessary and have, have walked that path already and have already experienced success. They’re there’s one in particular, in particular, he is he’s the CEO and started to move into like more of a chair type role as he transitions is.

Justin (42m 25s):

And it gets a little bit older, but he, he understood my entrepreneurial spirit. He understood what I was trying to do. And he was very transparent with, this is what I’ve done, and this is what I suggest you do, because I’ve seen so many young guys come through the industry. And I know this, this path I’ve seen before, and this path I’ve seen before, and if you do X, Y, and Z thing, then you’ll, you’ll be very successful. And so for me, again, those conversations still stick with me today. And I, I remember a certain pieces have those conversations because I tried to, I mean, M, I’m a young guy still, and, and I have a certain amount of industry experience, but nothing close to these guys that are 65, 70 years old.

Justin (43m 13s):

But I try to pass on some of those things that I learned in my programs for people who are looking for advice, because like I said, I mean, I, I really sat down with two to two to four people a week during business school and build some great relationships and many people that I still keep in touch with today. And so, yeah, it would, I wouldn’t be here without the people who have, who have really done that and then have turned around and said, Hey, I’ve made my money. I have done what I want to do. And now I’m ready to help the next generation.

2 (43m 41s):

Yeah, that’s great. And then you kind of pass the torch or they pass it to you. And, you know, you kind of do the same thing for the younger generation. So speaking on that point, the third one would be something that, you know today about the industry that you wish you knew when you started out.

Justin (43m 55s):

Yeah. So

2 (43m 57s):

I know it could be a long list of that one.

Justin (43m 59s):

Yeah. So, so one of my keep talking about mentors, but I, and I, I I’ve looked through some of my LinkedIn and email messages and I cringed, I reached out to a lot of people, but through that, there were a lot of great people who, who responded and we built a relationship over time. This was the guy that was the third party consultant at a company that I work at. And w it was actually, that was actually my family business before I went to business school. And I was trying to decide on what to do. And he was a really experienced and kinda took me under his wing. And one thing that he would always say to me is that real estate isn’t rocket science. And I think when you get into

2 (44m 38s):

You, don’t tell anybody that, yeah, yeah, yeah. Well, I know

Justin (44m 42s):

Can, you can make it a really complicated, and there are many firms need that when you get into the really institutional space and you’re raising capital from a bunch of different equity investors, and you really need to know the details down to the sense that’s, that’s really important, but at the end of the day, it it’s easy to see commercial real estate is this really huge intimidating industry with a lot of really intimidating people when it comes down to it is it’s basic supply and demand, and everyone uses real estate in every day activities and everything that you do. So it’s with many of these product types, its, its relatively easy to understand. And the, the supply and demand drivers are, are also relatively easy to understand.

Justin (45m 25s):

And if you put it in that context and within even the real estate financial modeling realm, what you’re trying to do when you’re building a model, his project out, what your cash flow is there going to be? What do you think your cash flows are going to be? It doesn’t really matter what formula is do you use? Or like it doesn’t matter if, if you, if somebody is telling you, you need to measure your IRR. If all you care about is your annual dividend yield, look at your cash on cash. If you don’t care about your IRR or you don’t plan on selling the deal at any point, take a look at that. But if you, if you look at it and say, and instead of seeing this as this expansive overwhelming thing where there are so many complexities to it, if you could say, okay, real estate comes down to supply and demand, this is something that I use on an everyday basis.

Justin (46m 9s):

And what is my goal with investing in real estate or being in real estate in the first place? Like we talked about, many people want to get into the real estate industry because they wanna do their own thing. Well, that should go into your kind of thought process with what kind of job you get, what you’re trying to get. Everything just falls into place much more easily. And it feels a lot more attainable and tangible. So yeah, real estate isn’t rocket science. I, I wish I had internalized that more when I was first starting out, but yeah. Yeah. You can make it rocket science, but it doesn’t need to be

2 (46m 42s):

Well, yeah, that’s it, that’s the great point. And it’s like, you can make it as complex as you want it. And then we can talk just like anything in Finance. We can talk on a language that you can have, nobody understand that its not in the industry if we really wanted to and that doesn’t help anybody makes you feel smart and that usually alienates people. Exactly. So my last question, my favorite of the bunch of your first car,

Justin (47m 4s):

The model, Ooh a 95 Dodge Intrepid man. Nothing was, it was really rusted out as a boat. That was, that was a boy.

2 (47m 14s):

That’s exactly what it was. Yeah. Everybody called it Yeah

Justin (47m 17s):

Yeah, it was a really, it was really a boat. I love that thing though. I was, I was bumping music and I think I, I love it. I kept in until two in college. So

2 (47m 25s):

Are those first car or cars man? And it doesn’t matter what it is that it was a symbol of freedom. So

Justin (47m 30s):

That’s awesome. Well listen, where can people we’ll put links to all, all your content as so YouTube as well as any of the programs,

Jesse (47m 39s):

But if there’s any other area where can people

Justin (47m 41s):

Reach out to you? Yeah. So the break in to see our YouTube channel is great for free content and the general overview of what I do and also just general commercial real estate career and analysis training in general. And then if you want to take a deeper dive and really build those analytical skillsets and modeling skill sets, or if you’re preparing for an interview exam or really the application process and want somebody really more in your corner and that can answer your questions, then a break into is going to give you access to all of the individual courses. If you’re just looking for a one or two classes and that’s all you’re looking for or a, the full Breaking, the CRE Academy program, which if you’ve watched any of my videos, you’ve probably heard this already, but you’ll get access to all Breaking and CRE courses, ah, every single real estate financial model that we have as far as templates is concerned are concerned.

Justin (48m 36s):

And then also a Excel training files as well. So you can practice those and Excel interview, exam training and, and all of that stuff. And then you’ll also get one-on-one coaching through that for career. Really good questions as well,

Jesse (48m 51s):

I guess today has been Justin Kivel you’ve been listening Working Capital The Real Estate Podcast thanks, Jason. Thanks Jesse. I appreciate it. Thank you for listening to the work in the Capitol podcast. My goal is to help individuals break into real estate investing as well as educate experienced investors. If you enjoyed the show, please share with a friend subscribe and give us a rating on iTunes. It really helps us. If you have any questions, I want to learn more or like me to cover a specific topic on the show. Please reach out to me via My name is Jesse Fragale and we’ll see you back here for the next episode of the Working Capital The Real Estate Podcast.