Financial Freedom with Real Estate Investing

It’s easy to talk yourself out of your first multifamily deal. Working through obstacle after obstacle alone wears on a first-time syndicator, and you feel like giving up. But if you partner with another investor, you don’t want to let each other down. And you push through adversity, showing up with a kind of tenacity you may not have had on your own. 

Gary Van Bortel and John Bilinski are the syndication team behind ROC Capital Group, a multifamily investment firm out of Rochester, New York. Gary and John have 30 years of investing experience between them, building individual portfolios of single family and small multifamily properties before partnering on their first apartment syndication in 2020, a $1M raise for 48-unit deal in Syracuse. Gary and John are also the organizers of the Upstate Commercial Apartment Investors Meetup.

On this episode of Apartment Building Investing, Gary and John join cohost Garrett Lynch and me to explain why they decided to work together, describing how a partnership motivates you to keep moving forward—even when a deal gets hairy. Gary and John discuss how they connected with potential investors through a local Meetup and share how they got investors to commit to their first deal. Listen in for insight on pushing through when things don’t go according to plan (I’m looking at you, COVID) and learn to leverage a strong partnership to work through obstacles together. 

Key Takeaways 

How Gary got into real estate

  • Bought duplex as first house
  • Potential for living cost-free

How John got into real estate

  • Looking for passive income
  • Renovate and rent homes

What inspired Gary and John’s shift to multifamily

  • Learn about syndication on podcast
  • Ability to scale fast resonated with both 

Why Gary and John decided to partner

  • Bring complementary strengths to table
  • Harder to talk self out of deal, give up

How Gary and John primed investors

  • Formed local multifamily Meetup group
  • Presentations on aspects of syndication

How Gary and John found their first deal

  • Deal for large portfolio through broker
  • Buyer willing to sell individual property

What made Gary and John’s first deal a challenge

  • Owner being indicted
  • Hard to get title insurance

Gary and John’s journey to raising $1M

  • Nervous at closing, far from goal 
  • Met with potential investors 1:1

How Gary and John got investors on board 

  • Own skin in game but not taking return
  • Willing to show property despite risk

The obstacles Gary and John faced with COVID

  • Property manager unable to go onsite
  • Asbestos issue meant displacing tenants

Gary and John’s advice for aspiring syndicators

  • Build community of potential investors
  • Get educated on logistics, partner up

Connect with Gary Van Bortel & John Bilinski

ROC Capital Group

Upstate Commercial Apartment Investor Group Meetup




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Financial Freedom with Real Estate Investing: The Blueprint to Quitting Your Job with Real Estate Investing—Even Without Experience or Cash by Michael Blank

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Podcast Show Notes 

Michael’s Website 

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Michael on Instagram 

Michael on YouTube 

Apartment Investor Network Facebook Group 

Direct download: ABI_270.mp3
Category:Commercial Real Estate -- posted at: 1:00am EST