Restore balance and sanity to your career without sacrificing income.

Do you feel burned out? Uncertain of how much you will make this year? Tired of hustling?

All four U.S. regions have posted year-over-year declines in home sales, according to the National Association of Realtors. The 30-year fixed-mortgage rates are nowhere close to 2021, or even 2022 rates. Sellers and buyers are on the sidelines. You are left wondering, “What am I going to do?

You have options. Even if it doesn’t feel like it, you are in control.

I was once a real estate agent like you. Today, I don’t worry about commission checks, lockboxes, or listings. You shouldn’t either. If you’ll indulge me for a quick story, this will all make sense.

I was in my driveway, having one of the worst days of my life.

When I was 29 years old, I owned my own RE/MAX and had recently been named a Top 100 Team by the Wall Street Journal. I was the No. 1 agent in the entire state within RE/MAX. Things were great on the outside. In reality, I had taken only 17 calendar days off in the year. I worked an average of 10.5 hours each day. To say I burned the candle at both ends would be an understatement.

You can only live this way for so long before problems show up.

Back to my driveway.

I came home from the office, and my wife had our three little kids packed up in the minivan. She said she was leaving. She didn’t mean leaving for baseball or swimming practice; she meant for good.

This was my tipping point. My success as an agent almost cost me everything.

I had to change.

Today, I live an entirely different life. Last summer, my wife and I celebrated our 20th anniversary with a two-week vacation to Greece and Italy. How? I found a tool to break free from the commission handcuffs.

I understand the highs and lows of the residential industry. Like you, I thought being a real estate agent was my ticket to uncapped income, time freedom, and control. A number of those things are true. As an agent, you do choose when to work; however, the answer is often “all the time.”

You’re Built Differently, So Plan Differently

As a high earner, you are driven to succeed. The pressure to constantly outperform, find new leads, earn commission, and deliver exceptional results can lead to high stress levels and burnout. The boundaries between your work life and leisure blur. You are always on call: Is this friend a potential client? How do I get more leads? Why are listings way down from last year? The thoughts and worries swirl.

Despite your substantial earnings, high taxes take a significant chunk out of your hard-earned income, making it difficult to plan for your financial future. You are so busy you barely have time to think about a wealth-building strategy. You are focused on making this year work. Ten, 20 years down the road will figure itself out. Maybe in “retirement” you can just keep selling houses?

Syndications for Agents

You probably became a real estate agent for the control—of your time and your schedule—and for the uncapped earning potential. Being a real estate agent has its perks. But most people don’t talk about the stress, uncertainty, and the need to be on call 24/7.

Fortunately, there is a way to enjoy the benefits of being an agent and still have stability.

Investing in commercial properties can help you achieve that stability. These investments are called syndications. In simple terms, a syndication is a collaborative investment in which multiple investors pool money to acquire commercial assets under the management of an experienced operator. These properties can be apartments, warehouses, retail strip centers, medical offices, and others.

Here’s the key: These properties generate income that is shared among the investors, plus investors benefit from the property’s appreciation in value.

Benefits of Syndications

Syndications provide three major benefits:

  1. Passive Income and Financial Freedom. One of the most significant advantages of investing in syndications is passive income. Unlike sales, which demand your constant attention, syndications allow you to earn passively. It’s somewhat like a stock or a bond. You receive quarterly or monthly distributions without being involved in day-to-day management. These distributions can supplement your commission, helping you better predict your income and weather slow seasons. Plus, the property is building equity and increasing in value while you receive passive cash flow.
  2. Time Freedom and Control. You sell a home and earn a commission. It’s a one-for-one exchange. You need a tool that allows you to invest once and earn on repeat. Why? Your most valuable resource in the world is finite: time. It’s not necessary to go out and buy single-family rentals on your own (I tried that). As an investor in a commercial property, you are free to focus on what you do best: being an agent.
  3. A Wealth-Building Strategy and Forever Income. As an agent, you probably don’t have an employer-sponsored retirement plan. Although your commissions provide significant one-time payouts, retirement planning may not be an immediate priority. Investing in commercial syndications (with the guidance of your trusted financial advisor) can fit into a well-balanced retirement plan. You can’t control inflation, markets, or the government. But you can give yourself the opportunity to earn income even after you’ve stopped selling. Don’t rely on a stash of cash. Supplement your savings with passive earnings .

Getting Started with Syndications

The syndication world is huge. There are loads of operators in every major market. Where to start? Before you take the plunge, begin with these three steps:

  1. Do Your Own Research. Educate yourself about commercial real estate syndications. There are plenty of podcasts, books, and articles to help you grasp the fundamentals.
  2. Talk to Someone Qualified. Talk with your CPA or trusted financial advisor to understand the implications. Be aware that not every CPA or financial advisor will fully understand syndications. They may dismiss commercial real estate as an “alternative investment.” Keep in mind that the total value of the commercial real estate market in the U.S. is roughly $21 trillion, and the equity market capitalization of the New York Stock Exchange is about $24 trillion. It’s not as “alternative” as Wall Street wants you to believe.
  3. Find A Syndicator You Trust. Look for an operator who understands your background and has a successful track record. You’ll be able to schedule a time to talk with a team member who should ask questions about your financial goals and present an overview of their business.

Investing in commercial real estate can transform your life due to the passive income it produces. Commercial real estate investments just might be the key you need to unlock your golden handcuffs. You don’t need to sacrifice your high income to regain control over your schedule. You can have both.

  • Neil Timmins

    Neil J. Timmins is a real estate syndicator, broker, opportunist, and author. He generates passive income opportunities through industrial real estate in Cash Flow Country, the midwest. He has been involved in $300+ million in transactions and hosts the podcast, "Passive Real Estate Investing with Mavericks".

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