Ventures Update June 2015

695 Riverview Drive

I am currently reading the book Multi-Family Millions, and it is transforming the way we look at our property. The author, David Lindahl, has been successful on a larger scale in exactly the type of property that 695 Riverview is. He calls what we are doing—creating value by turning over to higher quality tenants and higher rent—“repositioning.” Important note: Zell did not recommend this book to me. I discovered it, and read it first, and I deserve all the credit for any positive outcome that comes from it! Click the book below to link to it on Amazon.

Reading the book after having owned the property for almost 2 years highlights our successes and mistakes from the past and enables us to make better decisions in the future. For example, the book points out that multi-family commercial properties generally make more money than their smaller residential counterparts. I ran the numbers before we bought and that is exactly why we chose it. The numbers are far better than smaller properties in terms of cash flow. Despite the issues we have had, we have never had fewer than 6 tenants at a time paying rent and that money has been crucial. Bottom line, we bought a great property with a lot of potential and the book reinforces that fact.

Conversely, we made some big mistakes. First, we tried to self-manage the property. It was way too much for one person to properly handle without being fully-committed. The book adamantly advocates hiring a property manager. He is right, and it took us 8 months to learn that the hard way. The book also says to hire a good property manager and lays out exactly what to look for, how to hire, and how to ensure results.

The second mistake that we made was to delay resurfacing the parking lot because it costs a lot of money. The book recommends to start by fixing the exterior in order to change the perception of the building within the local community. It is absolutely worth the money in order to attract better tenants. We have learned that from our 2 worst tenants—who we evicted—and who each cost us a lot of money. We are getting resurfacing estimates as we speak and the job should be done by the end of July.

With the amount we plan to spend on improvements this year, it now appears that we may not be profitable in 2015. A lot of the maintenance that we have completed until now has been backed-up maintenance that was deferred by the previous owner, and we have moved on to improvement projects. The increased value of the property due to the improvements and rent increase is easily making up for the few thousand dollars that we are in the red in terms of actual cash flow.

Gluten-Free Bread

Gluten-free bread from Shiloh’s Five Loaves is now being marketed as “Simple Kneads.” Tristaun and Devaunt in Raleigh are rapidly transitioning from the “stand-up” phase to the “distribution and profitability” phase. The new website speaks for itself. Click on the picture to visit it:

Click the picture for the Simple Kneads Website.
Click the picture for the Simple Kneads Website.


Devaunt and Nick have been busy networking in the Raleigh area and sifting through opportunities to find the next Kineomen investment (Simple Kneads gluten-free bread being Kineomen’s first investment). Devaunt has focused primarily on Simple Kneads, while Nick has taken on some clients as a business consultant. I am still a relatively small investor working to develop ideas that I could take on as my own project.

Coconut Wine (Vino de Coco)

When I originally invested in Vino de Coco, I hoped that I would eventually get a chance to learn more about the business and gain experience from them as a start-up. I finally got a chance to meet Tim Bowles, the Vino de Coco co-founder who was our contact for the investment. His stories are fascinating. I decided to keep my investment with them and consider a future partnership.

Click the picture for the website.
Click the picture for the website.