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My secret life as a real estate investor

by Heath Silverman, posted in Investor Stories, Stessa News

I am just like many of you, a professional used to working long hours during the week. The weekend can never come soon enough…but not for the reason that you may think. As long as I can remember, I have had a second calling unbeknownst to most of my friends and co-workers: I invest in real estate, and my weekends are the best time to seek out that next deal.

My first property purchase was a single-family home I bought back in 2001 to both live in and rent out a couple rooms. Since then, I can’t seem to get enough of that rush, the magical combination of fear and excitement, that comes with every new acquisition.

As someone who works in technology, I believe what most attracts me to real estate is that it is tangible. Spending most of my days in front of a computer, there is something special about being able to make real improvements and physically see and touch the results. As an asset, real estate may not be the most liquid, but it more than makes up for it by providing cash flow in the form of ongoing passive income coupled with the potential for appreciation, while offering a great hedge against inflation.

I still don’t quite know why I tried to keep my avocation a secret, but it always seemed like the right thing to do.

As my portfolio grew though, it became harder to hide from others. Whether negotiating a tricky deal, coordinating a significant capital improvement, closing a refi, or dealing with a pressing property issue, I found myself often sneaking off in a somewhat shameful way to take the call or fill in paperwork while others were enjoying a group lunch or grabbing an after-work cocktail. Funny thing is that with the few people who did know about my covert yet engrossing hobby, that was all they wanted to talk to me about.

With each new acquisition, my portfolio became more challenging to manage. Even with property management handling most day-to-day operations, there was always something that required immediate attention. The most frustrating aspect of it all was that I knew technology could make things better. In my day job, I rely on a solid system of record and data analytics tools with KPI dashboards to enable ongoing measurement, iteration, and improvement.

As a small-scale investor though, I found all of the above to be noticeably absent in real estate. Truth be told, the standard tool for most investors like me is an out-of-date spreadsheet.

After a comprehensive analysis in a shared property with my long-term fellow investor and co-founder resulted in a dramatic increase in value, everything became suddenly clear. Rather than continuing to hide my secret life as an investor, I should embrace it. By combining real estate and technology, I could pursue both my passions and solve real problems that were top of mind to so many investors out there.

We created Stessa to help income property owners better manage their residential real estate holdings. Optimizing a real estate portfolio can involve tedious manual effort, which is why most investors see sub-optimal returns. After registering a property and securely connecting financial data, an owner gets a consolidated view of their portfolio with all the relevant metrics such as asset return, income, operating expenses, and loan-to-value in a centralized dashboard.

Stessa utilizes intelligence to identify pressing, often overlooked issues such as a water leak, below-market rent, or property tax inconsistency and will eventually automate time-consuming tasks such as preparing a P&L, rent-roll, and schedule of real-estate owned. Whether real estate is your full-time job or a secret side hustle, Stessa is all about making your life easier, saving you time, and helping you achieve the maximum value in your investments along the way.

Try it out and let me know what you think. This product was created by investors for investors, and I look forward to hearing your feedback around what we could do better.

It is very liberating to finally be able to share something that I have always been so incredibly passionate about. No more needing to sneak off to do what I enjoy, no more self-inflicted guilt trips, and no more secrets,….it feels good to come clean.

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