Financial Freedom with Real Estate Investing

What’s differentiates a successful multifamily real estate investor from someone who dreams of financial freedom but doesn’t take action? Todd Fox contends that a willingness to fail is what sets him apart and that his failures have helped him learn, grow and gain the confidence to go out and create the next big opportunity.

Todd is the CEO of Visum Development Group. In the last 15 years, Todd has developed $35M in projects in the Ithaca metro area, and he oversees all aspects of the firm’s projects from concept formation to long-term stabilization. Visum specializes in new construction and the redevelopment of residential properties, working to maximize returns while mitigating risk for investors. The company offers a range of luxury student housing, residential and commercial investments, and they are currently working on a 207-bedroom student housing project for Cornell University worth $37M.

Todd joins me share his journey from bankruptcy to successful developer, discussing how that dark time inspired him to pursue real estate full-time. He explains how he got his start with duplexes, purchasing his first property at auction and doing an incredible amount of legwork to find the second property—three years later. Todd describes his original intention to scale up to ten duplexes and how his dreams got bigger as he gained confidence and secured a network of investors. Listen in for Todd’s insight on following your heart, learning from failure, and setting small goals to build momentum.

Key Takeaways

Todd’s path to real estate development

  • Quiznos franchise for three years
  • Bought property at auction, redevelop as duplex
  • Internet startup in NYC
  • Eight years of full-time real estate

What inspired Todd to pursue real estate full-time

  • Making $20K/year on duplex
  • ‘What if I owned 10?’

Todd’s painful experience with bankruptcy

  • Personal guarantee on Quiznos lease
  • Next owner stopped paying rent
  • Sued for $482K
  • Questioned path of entrepreneurship

How Todd overcame the inability to secure a bank loan

  • Confident in ability to build product, find deals
  • Promised partner double usual return in exchange for financing

How Todd found his next deal

  • Looked through tax maps for parcels
  • Letters, door-knocking
  • Found house and double-lot worth $500K for under $300K
  • Rented house, built two new duplexes on lots

Todd’s decision to scale beyond ten duplexes

  • Mastered renovations, duplexes
  • Opportunity to build six-unit
  • Raised $750K, on-time and on-budget
  • Now working on $37M building

The organic way Todd built a network of investors

  • Father of tenant in first duplex in student housing business
  • Reached out with interest in investing, hit it off
  • Brought in friends as deals grew

Todd’s approach to raising money

  • Properties under contract before money raised
  • Ability to flip contract in worst-case scenario
  • Trust investors to support (calculated risk)

Todd’s advice for aspiring real estate investors

  • Learn from failure, gain confidence
  • Follow your heart, do what you love
  • Don’t be afraid to fail

Todd’s insight on what sets successful entrepreneurs apart

  • Understanding that it’s okay to fail
  • Willingness to do things that are uncomfortable
  • Set small goals and build momentum
  • Don’t wait for big opportunity, go out and create

Connect with Todd

Visum Development

Visum on Facebook

Visum on Instagram


Financial Freedom Summit

Partner with Michael

Invest with Michael

Michael’s Course

Free eBook: The Secret to Raising Money to Buy Your First Apartment Building

Review the Podcast on iTunes