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The 3 Pillars of Real Estate Investing … And The Questions a Veteran Investor Wishes She Had Been Asking All Along

Denise Piazza likes numbers. “My husband and I are both CPAs,” she told Michael Duncan of the Road to Financial Freedom Podcast, “and so that pretty much means our kids have no chance of being cool whatsoever.”

As such, she doesn’t just stop at the growing numbers of units under management at her investment firm, One Street Capital. Nor does she stop at the dollar value of her own personal portfolio. 

She also likes numbers like “50.” As in, “50 Questions to Ask Before Investing in Real Estate,” her recent contribution to the CamaPlan blog.

And numbers like “3.” As in her “3 Pillars of Real Estate Investing.”

We’ll get to that. As for the 50 questions, she learned to ask these questions the hard way.

“We began investing over ten years ago,” Piazza said. “Along the road we had a lot of great experiences and then some not-so-great experiences.” 

“I'd say, ‘Why did you select that market?’” she said. “What do you like about that particular market and attracts you to making an investment there?”

“I'd also ask about some of the key assumptions associated with that real estate deal … What's the debt structure look like? What does the return structure look like? Is there a preferred return? Meaning … do the limited partners or passive investors get paid a certain amount before the sponsor to the deal makes any money?”

“I'd also ask a lot about the team,” Piazza said. “I think that's an area that also gets overlooked. My main criteria for the team would be ‘What's your background?’ You know, do they have a successful business background? How many partners are involved? Are they personally investing in the deal themselves?” 

“And then lastly, what's their track record in this area and this particular aspect of real estate investing, so you can feel comfortable that you're placing your hard-earned dollars in with the right team.”

These top questions align perfectly with Piazza’s aforementioned “three pillars” — 1. The market, 2. The deal, and 3. The team.