Let’s say you have a single-family rental that makes you $100 a month. What if you took advantage of a 1031 exchange to purchase a 5-unit building that generates a dramatically higher monthly income of $1K? When Michael Zuber realized the potential cashflow of multifamily investing and the lack of competition in the market for small apartment buildings, his mindset shifted. He went from seeing real estate as a smart place to keep his money to an opportunity to achieve financial independence.

Michael is a full-time real estate investor who specializes in 5- to 20-unit apartment buildings. After 15 years of real estate investing, Michael quit his W-2 job to start One Rental at a Time, a company focused on helping busy professionals begin their own journey to financial freedom. Michael’s goal is to help 1K people learn the fundamentals of real estate investing through his educational platform. He is also the author of the book, 15 Year Journey to Financial Freedom Via One Rental at a Time

Today, Michael joins me to explain how losing six figures in the stock market led him to real estate investing and describe his initial strategy to buy and hold several single-family homes. He discusses his realization around the cashflow potential of small multifamily properties, sharing how he leveraged the 1031 exchange to transition from eight to 80 units in 18 months—right before the crash in 2008. Michael also offers insight around his strategy during the crash, how he is preparing for the likely market correction, and how he might have accelerated his journey to financial freedom. Listen in to understand how Michael opened his mind to multifamily and learn how he can help you through his new platform, One Rental at a Time.

Key Takeaways

How Michael got into real estate

  • Lost six figures in stock market in 48 hours
  • Year of research, bought first house

Michael’s initial real estate plan

  • Wanted security didn’t have w/ W-2 job
  • Buy and hold (while working full-time)

How Michael financed his first deals

  • Put own money down on first three houses
  • Refinanced for capital to buy more
  • Acquired seven houses + duplex

Michael’s transition to multifamily

  • Cashflow potential of small multifamily
  • 1031 all eight houses prior to crash
  • From eight to 80 units in 18 months

The details of Michael’s first multifamily deal

  • Looking for deals on local MLS, Loopnet
  • Found 5-unit through agent relationship

Michael’s mindset shift

  • Assumed multifamily above skill set
  • Little competition in 5- to 20-unit range

Michael’s strategy during the crash

  • Bought everything that made sense
  • Structure of deal most important
  • Solve problems for owners, banks

Why Michael waited to quit his job

  • Ego, identity wrapped up in job
  • Need something to commit to

Michael’s One Rental at a Time YouTube Channel

  • Educate busy professionals on investing
  • Allows to do good and track outcomes

How Michael could have accelerated the process

  • Identify underserved market sooner
  • Raise private money much earlier

How Michael is preparing for the market correction

  • Continue to play in affordable housing
  • Raising cash, selling weaker properties

Michael’s advice for aspiring multifamily investors

  • Get four rentals (two-year timeline)
  • Finance first on own or with partner
  • Track record to raise money for next deal

Connect with Michael

One Rental at a Time on YouTube


15 Year Journey to Financial Freedom Via One Rental at a Time by Michael Zuber


Financial Freedom with Real Estate Investing: The Blueprint to Quitting Your Job with Real Estate—Even Without Experience or Cash by Michael Blank

Michael’s Website

Michael’s Live Training Webinars

Michael’s Coaching Program

Podcast Show Notes

Review the Podcast on iTunes

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