- Zamir Kazi started his real estate investing journey at age 24.
- His real estate investing firm now owns thousands of units.
- Kazi shared his best advice for getting started in real estate today.
When Zamir Kazi was 24 in 2012, he and a business partner bought a $30,000 duplex in Florida, each chipping in $15,000 from their savings.
They then fixed the property up — Kazi said he watched self-help YouTube videos to save money on repairs — and resold it for $90,000, turning a cool $60,000 profit. But instead of taking their money and going home, they took the $60,000 and bought another two duplexes, and again turned handsome profits.
Their growing profits allowed them to make bigger purchases, moving onto buildings with four units, 10 units, 50 units, and eventually 100 units and more.
After they had done about 20 deals, Kazi and his partner had turned to another financing strategy: private funding.
“Once we had a little bit of a track record, we ended up going and raising some money from friends and family,” Kazi told Insider on Monday. “Even at that point, bigger institutional partners or people you don’t know, it’s hard for them to trust you.”
He continued: “Once you do well for one investor, word of mouth gets out and they start telling their friends and your Rolodex of investors gets bigger and bigger.”
In 2013, Kazi continued on his own, founding ZMR Capital, where he raises money from family offices, institutional investors, and through crowd-funding.
Through this, his firm currently owns more than more than 3,300 units and has bought and sold hundreds more in several states including Texas, according to records of its portfolio provided to Insider and local news coverage. Over the last year alone, he’s raised more than $100 million, he said. The firm aims to identify multifamily homes that will generate 15-20% returns.
Advice for breaking into real estate investing today
With interest rates so low, housing prices have steeply appreciated in the last year. According to the most recent reading of the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index, home prices are up 14.6% from last year.
This in mind, investors have to be more careful about the deals they do now, Kazi said, compared to in 2012 when he started.
Underwriting, or assessing the price of a property and the associated expenses, is now the most important part of the process, he said.
“It’s not like eight or 10 years ago where you could literally point your finger on a map, buy anything, and make money on it,” Kazi said. “Now, more than ever, the numbers really matter.”
But this shouldn’t completely hold investors back, Kazi said. He said his biggest piece of advice is to jump into the market and do a deal, “if it makes sense,” to get the ball rolling on building a portfolio.
“Once you start being active in the market, you just naturally start to see more deals and more opportunities,” he said. “Activity begets activity.”
For those looking to buy properties, Kazi stressed that real estate is a relationship-based business, and that it’s important to stay in contact with buyers and sellers often, as unexpected opportunities can appear.
He also said that investors shouldn’t let worries about property management stop them from buying, and that property operators can be hired.
But for those not necessarily looking to buy properties, Kazi pointed out that there are other options for investing in real estate, like participating in crowdfunding. Two examples of crowdfunding platforms are Fundwise and CrowdStreet.