In March 2008, our firm closed on a multifamily development site in Uptown Dallas—one of the hottest submarkets for development in the city.
The hallmark of our firm’s investment strategy was to acquire value-add real estate investments with existing cashflow to support the carrying costs associated with developing real estate. This would be our saving grace in the months to come.
Shortly after closing on the Uptown site, Bear Sterns announced that it was selling to J.P. Morgan for 1% of the firm’s value, or $2 per share. The global financial crisis had begun.
Our firm immediately began looking for ways to survive the coming years, knowing that our banks and investors would be weary of new investments.
Like most other CRE firms, we turned our attention to buying distressed debt, and we underwrote every asset type offered by the major banks during that period as they took on TARP money and sold off bad assets.
We underwrote defaulted mortgages, second mortgages, auto and credit card paper, small-balance consumer loans, esoteric consumer offerings and more. The only problem? We were not alone.
We competed against midmarket and major Wall Street investment firms alike, and we lost more than our share of defaulted mortgage bids over the next two years.
The silver lining? In the process of underwriting the mortgage pools, we became acquainted with fix-and-flip investors across the country. We discovered a void in the credit markets. Many hard money lenders evaporated in the financial crisis, and most banks were sitting on their hands, afraid to make a credit decision until the smoke cleared.
So, we turned our focus from buying distressed debt to originating hard money loans for real estate investors across America.
We started our first fund in August 2009 with both a hard money discipline and what we referred to at the time as a “rehab-to-rental discipline.”
Market research told us that our hard money product would not be compelling to investors unless we could marry it with a rental loan on the back-side. So, we went to market with both products.
Through 2010 and 2011, our loan volume picked up, a sign that the credit markets and overall economy were still improving. However, it wasn’t until 2014 that we really hit our stride. By then, we’d spent five years in business working to marry capital, underwriting, systems, marketing and operations.
We experienced significant growth through 2014 and have been growing ever since. Today, our focus is to serve customers in the single-family fix-and-flip investment business as well as the single-family rental business.
It’s been an amazing journey to see the private lending industry rise from the depths of the financial crisis to a burgeoning industry that continues to thrive. We look forward to continuing to serve the single-family fix-and-flip and single-family rental industry.