Breathing New Life into Sun Belt Communities
Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
“When investing with my self-directed IRA (SDIRA), I wanted to change the world in a positive way. And how could I do that? One of the ways [is to buy] distressed apartment complexes, rehab them, and make them into nice homes. So it's a win-win for the residents and for me.”
In this article, we chart Chris's remarkable journey from a budding entrepreneur to a seasoned investor with a commitment to revitalizing multifamily real estate in the South.
Growing up as the 10th of 12 children in a loving household, Chris quickly learned the value of hard work and self-reliance. If he wanted something, he felt that he had to roll up his sleeves and work for it.
At age 11, Chris took matters into his own hands. He purchased a professional Bobcat lawn mower from Smith Hardware for $448, a significant investment for a child of his age. Quickly, he set out to offer lawn mowing services to neighbors and residents in his town. Soon, the effort turned into a thriving business. Chris managed to secure 48 lawn mowing accounts and 67 snow removal accounts.
“We had a great household growing up. But if we wanted something, I had to work for it,” Chris said. “It was a great way to learn to… have great pride in oneself and know that the things that you wanted to buy, you actually went out and worked for the money.”
This experience instilled in him a sense of responsibility and self-sufficiency that would shape his future endeavors. As Chris transitioned into adulthood, he continued to run his lawn and snow removal businesses while pursuing other career opportunities.
A pivotal moment came when he met his best client, Mr. Rosner, a German immigrant who owned numerous apartment complexes in their community. Chris's dedication and reliability in maintaining Mr. Rosner's properties earned him a valuable piece of advice:
“‘Christoper, you must buy real estate,’ he told me. I always wanted to, but I was traveling around a lot for my W2 job. Once I got a sedentary lifestyle and a predictable schedule… I was able to start investing in real estate.”
Diving into The World of Film and Television
A chance encounter with Chuck Howard, a producer for ABC Sports, ignited his passion for the world of sports broadcasting. This pivotal moment steered him towards his dream of becoming a live sports director.
He pursued this goal through education at Emerson College, honing his craft. Eventually, Chris realized his ambition; he leaned on his entrepreneurial spirit to guide dozens of projects to success and become a respected live television director.
Throughout his career, Chris diversified his income streams, recognizing the cyclical nature of freelance work. His financial acumen and work ethic, instilled from a young age, served him well in navigating the dynamic world of both investments and television production.
Having already built a robust portfolio in traditional assets, Chris was keen on broadening his investment horizon, particularly in multifamily real estate. His curiosity led him to open an SDIRA with The Entrust Group. This allowed him to channel his funds into a diverse range of asset classes beyond traditional securities.
Improving Quality of Life For Residents
Today, Chris is the general partner at Discover Multifamily and spearheads a transformative approach to multifamily real estate investment.
In his role, Chris and his team specialize in acquiring distressed apartment complexes, breathing new life into properties. Their mission revolves around meticulous restoration, turning these complexes into premium residences while ensuring a robust financial return on investment.
Operating primarily in the Sun Belt states of Texas, Florida, and Georgia, Discover Multifamily typically targets apartment complexes with 100 units or more, with acquisition prices ranging from $7 million to $38 million. After acquiring a property, the group undertakes extensive rehabilitation efforts and transitions into diligent owner-operators.
In Chris’s eyes, this strategy sets them apart from the competition by actively enhancing property values rather than relying solely on market trends. They don't merely hope for favorable market conditions; they take proactive steps to influence the outcome. This involves comprehensive renovations of individual units, strategic rent adjustments, and an unwavering commitment to improving the quality of life for residents.
“We make solid returns and then we make the quality-of-life for our residents way better than the former owner [did],” he said. “So that is a way that I could give back in my small way.”
Satisfied residents and consistent cash flows are the foundation of successful multifamily property investments. As a multifamily investor with Entrust, you can elevate your investment experience by upgrading to the exclusive myDirection Card.
Say goodbye to paperwork, waiting times, and transaction fees. This card offers a hassle-free solution for managing your multifamily properties within your SDIRA, providing instant access to funds for renovations, repairs, and general expenses.
Diversifying His Portfolio with Investments in Film and Television
In pursuit of a well-rounded financial portfolio, Chris maintains a diverse array of investments. His holdings span stocks, bonds, real estate properties, and involvement in various entrepreneurial ventures. Recently, Chris has ventured into the dynamic world of television and film investing.
From Chris’s perspective, investing in the entertainment industry demands a long-term perspective. It's a stark departure from "get-rich-quick" schemes, and it carries a higher degree of risk. However, this risk-reward dynamic is distinctively appealing to Chris.
Unlike lower-risk index funds or government bonds, film and television investments offer the potential for exceptionally rewarding returns. Of course, this also comes with higher risk.
To navigate these uncertainties, Chris employs strategic measures to mitigate risk. These include securing the involvement of established stars, implementing robust marketing initiatives, and careful planning, all aimed at enhancing the chances of success for the project involved.
Learning the Rules and Regulations
When Chris embarked on his journey of self-directed investing with Entrust, he encountered a range of new challenges.
One of the initial hurdles Chris faced with his SDIRA was adapting to the more time and labor-intensive system of investing in alternative assets. To effectively operate within this framework and comply with the rules and regulations, he needed guidance.
Reema, a dedicated member of the Entrust team, stepped in to provide support. She patiently walked Chris through the intricacies of self-directed investing, ensuring he understood the necessity of compliance with the regulatory requirements.
“Reema really helped walk me through it and held my hand every step of the way,” he said. “[She] has really been a true blessing in my learning process of making… the self-directed IRA process pretty smooth and seamless.”
Improve Your Community While Securing Your Financial Future
Chris De Celle's investing experience is a testament to the power of hard work, resilience, and a commitment to positive change.
From his entrepreneurial beginnings to his current venture in improving distressed apartment complexes, Chris’s investing story embodies the Community Builder investor personality. These investors believe strongly in the ability of investing to improve lives and revitalize communities.
If you're interested in combining real estate investment with tax-advantaged growth, talk to one of our SDIRA experts to find out if an SDIRA is right for you. They can outline the benefits, the rules, and answer any questions you might have about taking control of your financial future.