John Gonsalves – Lessons from Scaling to 200+ Doors in Detroit
Please introduce yourself.
I am the owner of Build it Detroit Construction and Salves Holding Corp. Our company focuses on low income/government subsidized assets. Additionally, we take properties from acquisition to the assembly line and ongoing management. Our team currently consists of 8 full-time employees and manages over 200+ doors in the metro Detroit area.
How did you get started in the real estate business?
As a teenager, I purchased my first property in NYC with the help of my parents. That was the beginning of my landlording journey and gained first-hand experience in owning/managing real estate. During that time, I became a real estate broker who specialized in commercial/industrial transactions. While working as an agent, I started to take on management roles and dealt with syndicating on the side. I fell in love with the process of dealmaking and putting capital to work. To date, I have been involved with about 400 million dollars’ worth of real estate transactions.
What are some hot markets for real estate that you are excited about?
The Midwest states, Southern states, and other states that have favorable laws towards landlords and property owners.
How do you source your real estate deals?
Most of our deals originate from word-of-mouth and broker relationships we have established over the years.
What are some checks and balances you’ve put in place to protect your real estate transactions?
Start by building a solid team of lenders, attorneys, and Rolodex of skilled trades to address any issue that can arise. Make sure your team is honest, transparent, and shares a similar goal with you. Be open to taking on risk but always consider the what ifs and unexpected issues that can and will arise.
What is one piece of advice you would give someone starting their real estate career?
Find out why you want to do it. Keep in mind most real estate deals are not as “cool” as they appear on TV shows or YouTube videos. There’s a lot of blood, sweat, and tears involved in every step of the process. Be mentally prepared to face countless ups and downs. Find a motivation that is larger than yourself, i.e., faith, responsibility to your family or community, or whatever is important to you. It’s very easy to get caught up in your ego as you hit new successes in your career.
What is one software you use for your business and recommend to others?
We use Buildium. It enables us to track what’s going on with the portfolio from a macro and micro level.
What is your superpower in life?
Performing well under pressure and being able to stay hyper focused when resolving issues.
What is a failure you’ve had in life that set you up for eventual success?
Trusting others blindly. These individuals include contractors, property managers and even attorneys. Don’t be shy to speak up when you don’t understand or fully grasp what’s going on. It’s your business and you’re the captain of the ship.
What is one book that has influenced your life the most? Why?
The Richest Man in Babylon is a book I have read many times throughout my career. I am able to extract new lessons from the book as I gain experience and first-hand knowledge.