Nice to Meet You!
You're probably wondering what you need to do to achieve (permanent) financial freedom with real estate. Maybe you realized that you'll never get there with single family houses, and you're wondering – is there a strategy that will let you quit your job – and in your lifetime?
The good news is that the answer is “Yes!”
My mission is to show you how you can become financially free with real estate in the next 3-5 years.
It may not be in the way you think (probably single family houses) – it's actually with apartment buildings.
I already hear you saying “That's great, Michael, I've heard that before, but I don't have the experience or money for that. Someday maybe”. The truth is, you can can get started with apartment building TODAY – even if you don't have the experience or your own cash.
My mission (and passion) is to show people how they can become financially free in the next 3-5 years (and often much sooner) by doing their first apartment building deal.
If you're not quite sure about apartment buildings, click on the “Resources” tab above and check out my blog articles, Youtube channel, and podcast. If you're ready for more then check out my products and programs.
I'm Michael Blank.
I’m a full-time entrepreneur, investor and coach and I’m passionate about helping others become financially free in 3-5 years by investing in apartment building deals with a special focus on raising money.
Through my company Nighthawk Equity, I control over $65 million in performing multifamily assets all over the United States. In addition to investing nationwide, I teach others how to do their first apartment building deal through tons of free content on TheMichaelBlank.com as well as additional training programs. I’ve helped students acquire over 750 units valued in excess of $27M and we’re on track to do a 1,000 units in the next 12 months through our unique coaching and “Deal Desk” program.
I’m the host of the popular podcast “Apartment Building Investing with Michael Blank” and I write regularly for the Bigger Pockets and Flipnerd’s REI Classroom. I live in Northern VA with my wife and 4 children. I enjoy in equal measure teaching. I have taught computer science courses, financial literacy classes to adults and children, and courses on how to buy apartment buildings.
Because of my experiences as an entrepreneur in different businesses, I feel I can help others gain the knowledge and confidence to take the first steps as an entrepreneur, or to become better at what you're already doing as an entrepreneur.
I'm an entrepreneur at heart, but it took me a while for me to figure that out.
I have a computer science degree and after several years of working for larger companies (including AOL) I took the leap and joined a software startup called webMethods. We started by developing software products that sold for $100's per license and later sold sophisticated business integration software that sold for millions. We went from a group of three out of our CEO's basement to 1,300 employees worldwide. WebMethods had one of the most successful IPO's in 2001.
Because we were growing so quickly, I spent very little time programming software and most of my time interviewing and managing people. I had a development team in California as well as in Virginia. I spent six months in Germany developing a product with a partner.
After about four years, I felt like I wanted to start and run my own software company one day, but I only had experience with software development. I wanted to learn marketing and sales. I convinced my CEO to support my experiment, and so I spent the next two years in marketing, dreaming up and executing innovative lead generation programs.
I then convinced our President to let me try my hand at actually selling software. I read every sales book I could get my hands on and attended a high-tech sales boot camp. I then created a target list and started hitting the phones. By the time I left a year later, I had sold $50,000 of software and had a $400,000 pipeline. It was the hardest job I have ever had, but I learned stuff about selling I still use to this day.
By this point, the culture of the company had changed radically from the good ol' start up days, and I felt my excitement waning. After 8 awesome years, I parted ways with an experience I will never forget.
I took some time off to travel with my wife, and when I came back, I networked with venture capitalists and software entrepreneurs, searching for that next software product to bring to market. Despite my best efforts, I just couldn't find anything that excited me.
As they say, when one door closes, another one opens.
It was then that I read the book “Rich Dad Poor Dad” and I was like, “Man, where has this been all my life?! Passive income is what I need, not money in the bank!”
So I abandoned my plans for the next software IPO and decided to pursue “passive income” through real estate and the restaurant business.
On the real estate side, I decided to flip houses. I read books and signed up with a local mentor. From my first direct mail campaign, I purchased two properties that I rehabbed and sold for a $110,000 profit. After doing a few more deals, I took a couple years off because I was getting busy with the pizza restaurants. I things settled down a bit, I rehabbed 30 properties from 2010 to 2012, financed by loans from private individuals.
At the same time I got started with the real estate, I also launched my restaurant venture. I signed up with a high-end pizza franchise and opened up our first location in Alexandria, VA in 2006. Within two years, we had 6 locations. We had bought two existing locations and improved the sales by 50%, but the recession hammered all locations, especially these two, and I was fortunate to sell them both for a hefty loss in 2009.
In 2007 I launched my apartment investment career by attending a Dave Lindahl boot camp. I subsequently began searching for deals in Texas, and after evaluating nearly 60 deals, I nearly bought an 81-unit in College Station (home of TexasA&MUniversity) but decided against it because I was getting too busy with the restaurants. I also learned that investors really prefer something more local, something they could drive to if they wanted to.
While I did have a financial leg up because of my IPO proceeds, my investing career didn't really mature until I ran out of my own cash because I had deployed it all for the restaurants.
It's not too difficult to do stuff with your own money, and frequently you do things you probably shouldn't do. It's when you don't have any more of your own cash when investing with other people's money opens up new doors.
In 2011 I bought my first commercial property with a group of investors. It was a 12-unit apartment building in an up-and-coming area of NE Washington, DC. After I got into the deal, it nearly nearly broke me, read more about it here.
That first deal changed my life, and I today I teach others how to get started with apartment building investing with a special focus on raising money. I enjoy teaching and motivating others to move beyond their comfort zones so that they can live the lives they were meant to live.
Other things you may not know about me: I hold a Masters degree in Computer Science from the College of William and Mary. I'm fluent in German (I’m actually from there) and conversational in Spanish. I play tennis competitively, love to travel, and started bow hunting several years ago. I live in Northern Virginia with my wife and four children.
I'm also passionate about working with Uganda Counseling and Support Services (UCSS) whose mission is to spread God's love and improve the quality of life in remote regions of Uganda (read more here).
I'm excited you're here, and I look forward to staying connected!