RG 312 – Why This Doctor Left a Lucrative Career in Medicine for Real Estate with Sunil SaxenaRG 312 - Doctor Left a Lucrative Career in Medicine for Real Estate

Sunil Saxena was a serial entrepreneur before becoming a full-time real estate investor. He tried so many things before discovering his true passion—including finishing a medical degree! If you’re still trying to figure out who you are, you will definitely relate to Sunil’s story.

Sunil Saxena, MD, is a lifelong entrepreneur, having started six successful real estate companies since 2001. To date, he has completed over 100 projects, from minor rehabs to massive multi-unit projects. He is now a Managing Partner at Hyperfast Development, an investment program that makes off-market multifamily deals accessible to aspiring investors.

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This week, Sunil shares his story about going from a medical career to a full-blown real estate business. He also goes into what it was like starting multiple companies, including restaurants and painting businesses before he found the right one—something that our serial entrepreneur listeners will be able to relate to.

Key Takeaways

  • Real estate has an almost unlimited ceiling for wealth building.

  • Everybody should be involved in real estate in some form; you can’t find the money-making power of real estate anywhere else.

  • Trying out all the things is like figuring out what Dharma is.

  • If you still haven’t figured out your Dharma, take your time—don’t jump into things.


Be Bold, Be Brave and Go Give Life a Crack!

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Podcast Transcript

Reed Goossens (00:00):

Good day Good day guys. Now, before we dive into today’s show, I want you to let you know that some of you may be aware that over the past eight years, I have built a substantial multi-family real estate portfolio here in the us worth over half a billion dollars. And in that time, my passive investors have received fantastic double-digit returns, and now you too can invest directly into my deals for as little as $50,000. So if you’re an interested investor, head over to reedgoossens.com to find out more that’s reedgoossens.com. Now back into the show.

Sunil Saxena (00:41):

Yeah, that that’s one of the huge advantage of the DC market. That’s that’s again, why I keep, you know, when I started, we, you know, one of my business partner, they live in Florida and, and we were looking at development down there just cuz I like to be down there too, but it’s just that Mar that cycle, that area is just so up and down with development that you start a project today based on today’s numbers two years now, two years later, it could be like double or it could be half DC is a very, very, you know, one of, probably the most stable markets in the country, if not the world, to be honest, uh, even during the OA crisis, which I lived through, uh, believe it or not DC proper was only down about 4%. Even the suburbs of DC where I actually had my home, we were down about 30%.

Sunil Saxena (01:17):

The areas of Florida were down 90%. Mm. So that means a house that was 300,000 was worth 30,000 . So that’s one of the reasons I like it. Uh, we definitely have our micro fluctuations here, like every three to six months. And also based on the political calendar and defense spending, you’ll start seeing markets go up or down a little bit here, but in general, I think there’s, you know, again, I hate to say that there’s no market risk. Cause there there’s always market risk as a developer, but it’s relatively stable here in DC. Uh, even during COVID we saw things go up,

Speaker 3 (01:57):

Welcome to investing in the US, a podcast for real estate investors, business owners, and aspiring entrepreneurs looking to break into the US market, join Reed as he interviews go getters risk takers and the best in the business about their journey towards financial freedom and the sheer joy of creating something from nothing

Reed Goossens (02:17):

Good day good day a ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to another cracking edition of investing in the US podcast from Los Angeles. I’m your host reed goossens good as always Debbie with us on the show. Now I’m glad that you’ve all tuned into it to learn from my incredible guests and each and every one of them are the cream of the crop here in the United States. When it comes to real estate, investing, business, investing and entrepreneurship, each show, I try and tease out their incredible stories of how they have successfully created the businesses here in the us, how they’ve created financial freedom, massive amounts of cash flow, and ultimately created extraordinary lives for themselves and their families life by design. As I like to say, hopefully these guests will inspire all of my cracking listeners, which are you guys to get off the couch and go and take massive amounts of action.

Reed Goossens (03:04):

If these guys can do it. So can you now, as you know, I’m all about sharing the knowledge with my loyal listeners, which is you guys. And there’s absolutely no BS on this show, just straight into the nuts and bolts. Now, if you do like to show the easiest way to give back is to give us a review on iTunes and you can follow me on Facebook and Twitter by searching at reed goossens. You can find the show wherever you podcast on iTunes, SoundCloud, Stitcher, and Google play, but you can also find these episodes up on my YouTube channel. So head over to reedgoossens.com, Click on the video link. And it’ll take you to the video recordings of these podcasts, where you can see my ugly mug, but the beautiful faces of my guests each and every week. All right, enough outta me, let’s get cracking and into today’s show

Reed Goossens (03:52):

Today. The show of the pleasure of speaking with Sunil Saxena. He’s a lifetime long entrepreneur. He’s started six successful businesses, mostly focused on real estate and real estate development. And he’s been active in the DC real estate market since moving there in 2001. Now he’s been involved in acquisitions, construction development sales, and has completed over a hundred projects all from small rehabs to large multi-family development projects. Now you wanna know that Sunil is actually a former doctor and he’s a published author and speaker, and he spent eight years in the medicine medical field. And he retired from medicine in 2009, focusing all on now, his ground up construction. He grew up in Columbus, Ohio and has four wonderful children. And his hobbies include tennis, golf, and comedy, but I’m really excited to have him on the show today to share his incredible insight and his knowledge with us, but nothing me. Let’s get him out here. Get ACE Neil, welcome to the show. How do today, mate?

Sunil Saxena (04:47):

Uh, doing very, very well. Reid, thank you for having me excited to, uh, share, share some time with you and talk to your listeners here.

Reed Goossens (04:53):

Awesome mate. Well look, tell I’ve already, I’ve already told people where you, where you dial in from you’re in DC, right? But, but, but let’s, let’s start the show because I ask every single person who comes on the show to rewind the clock and tell me how they made. They made their first ever dollar as a kid.

Sunil Saxena (05:09):

Well, I have a, an unusual journey to say the least. I think people, whenever I tell ’em that I’ve, uh, I started in medicine now I do real estate development. I also do comedy. They’re just their head start spinning and they wonder what I’m all about. So, uh, I really made believe it or not, my first doc first dollar as a doctor, I started in medicine really young. I was 17 when I got into a, uh, six year medical program, right. Outta high school. So I did that and uh, graduated medical school when I was 23 and then, uh, went to, did a one year residency. Didn’t like that field at all. So, but that was really my first dollar was during, you know, getting paid, paid as a resident actually. So, um, maybe a little more, a little more unusual than the, the average folks out there. Yeah.

Reed Goossens (05:49):

I wanna hear more about your comedy career, but um, tell me a little bit more about you, you, your, your upbringing with money, you know, you obviously are clearly a smart person because graduating and going straight from high school into a, a six year program and being done by the time you’re 23 or 20, 21, 23, it’s very, very young. So how was your relationship with money growing up?

Sunil Saxena (06:11):

You know, I think we all have different relationships with money as you’re. I think you’re getting to here. Um, my mom was a, was a physician. Uh, my dad’s an architect. Uh, so I grew up in actually a very small town in, in Southern Ohio. So kind of a fish outta water, you know, you’re also sounds like a transplant from another country, you know, when you kind of grow up here, you, you don’t really know you, you, you don’t have your parents to tell you like, this is how things are done. They they’re also, they don’t know as well. So, um, I mean, I didn’t grow, grow up poor at all, but I think the fact that my parents were not certainly not rich, but well off. And we live in a small town where the cost of living is, you know, dirt cheap. I never really kind of understood the importance of money, if that makes sense. Right. I just was kind of always there and then I didn’t take it as seriously. And I think some of my initial, uh, when I got into business, I, you know, I had failures as we all do. And that was because I didn’t really understand the value of money. So, you know, these days I think that money is important, but it’s certainly not the end goal of any entrepreneur. It shouldn’t be. But, uh, but yeah, that’s, that’s kind of how I grew up if that’s what you, you know, if that’s what you’re asking,

Reed Goossens (07:12):

You know, it, it’s always interesting to hear folks’ story, usually how they go pursue real estate pursue entrepreneurship is really from a well, half the people who come on the show more than half, probably 90% of the people come on the show pursue the life of real estate, you know, financial freedom because they come from a place of hardship. Right. Sounds like you weren’t in that, in that space, which is completely fine. But it’s also interesting to, to, to, to hear people who, who, who do come from maybe, uh, an immigrant type of family you’re growing up in, in a small rural town in, in Ohio. Um, I could only imagine, you know, looking like a, yeah, so a sore thumb, right. Uh, sick and sore thumb. So, but, but tell me what, what was, was there a push for mum and dad to, to get into medicine and, and be, you know, high achiever, because it’s clearly sounds like you, at 17 years of age, you came out guns blazing.

Sunil Saxena (08:04):

Yeah. You know, I, it’s kind of interesting cuz I don’t necessarily recommend the six year program for anybody because you know, you kind of get locked in right outta high school. Uh, I really, you know, the traditional medical model is you go to college for four years, then you do four years of medical school. So it’s an eight year model. And a lot of people take time off somewhere in between and do other things, I don’t know if it was really pressure. It was just kind of, you know, from an Indian background, which, you know, I dunno if you figured that out already or not.

Reed Goossens (08:28):

SI didn’t give it a wide.

Sunil Saxena (08:30):

Yeah, exactly. You’d be surprised at how many people are like what, what is that I’m like, you don’t know really. So yeah. Clearly medicine is like, like our thing, right? I mean, you know, every time I go to hospital myself, there seems to be just all the doctors are Indian. So it was just kind of like my, my parents really thought that was the best way to go from their bring, you know, their upbringing back in India. And I got into this program and you know, I was getting, everyone was like, validating me. They’re like, oh, congratulations, you got into this program. You’re gonna be a doctor. Oh my God. So I was like, wow, this is great. So I, I don’t think I knew back then at all, clearly that wasn’t my, you know, reason for being on this earth. But, but it was just something I kind of got into. I don’t really regret it. I don’t think they pushed me into it. Uh, but really I did things in reverse because most people, when, you know, they graduated 23, 22, 23 from college and then they maybe kind of find themselves and, you know, whatever work, different jobs. I graduated from medical school at 23, then I took four years off and uh, kind of just tried to find myself and realized I was more of an entrepreneur. So yeah, that was a little bit of a different, um, kind of path for sure.

Reed Goossens (09:32):

Talk to me about those four years off, because it sounds like it’s, it’s, it’s quite life changing what I was saying. Like what did you do in four years to go and discover yourself?

Sunil Saxena (09:42):

Like I said, I graduated 23. I did one year of orthopedic surgery actually, which is a really, really sought after profession. You know? Uh, it’s one of the top, you know, types of medical specialties, but I was a, I was burnt out, I think looking back on it and of course hindsight’s a hundred, you know, 20, 20, right. You look back like, oh, that’s exactly what happened when I was experiencing. And I was like, I don’t know why I’m doing all this, but I was definitely burnt out after six years of just nonstop, you know, medical and college and everything. Cuz what that program does is it takes college and condenses into two years. So it’s really intense. And then the medical school part is just medical school. Uh, and then going right into a surgical specialty, which is also very intense. I was just, I was, I was done and I just quit and I didn’t really like it also.

Sunil Saxena (10:21):

So in those four years, uh that’s when I started my acting in comedy. Um, I, I, I lived in New York for a year. I, um, I think I went to new New Jersey area, lived with my uncle for, I don’t, I don’t remember exactly how long that four years and then, um, really kind of realized that I kind have this entrepreneurial, um, itch and bug and that’s kind of what I’m about. I I’ve got, I’m barely good at like taking ideas and figuring out maybe how to make money or setting a strategy. But yeah, I mean, that’s really what I did and uh, you know, I actually ended up going back to residency after that. Cause I still wanted to kind of finish my medical training. Uh, so from four years off, then three years of residency and that put me here in DC right afterwards in uh, 2001.

Reed Goossens (11:02):

Nice. And, and, and that four years off comedy acting, would’ve been such 180 degree shift from, from medicine. Right. It’s it’s, it’s, it’s interesting that you probably, I don’t wanna say rebellion is the right word, but you have that sense of discovering yourself, exploration, curiosity, that, you know, you have something within you that you want to go and scratch that itch that you know oh, cause just from an outsider, just meeting you, you know, medicine, medicine, medicine, medicine, and then you just like completely shift to acting in, in comedy. Uh, and I’ve got great friends who, who are also from, from Indian backgrounds. I could only imagine mum and dad doing back flips. Uh, they’re

Sunil Saxena (11:40):

Still doing those flips. I’m like 50 plus and they’re still flipping

Reed Goossens (11:44):

No it’s but it’s interesting that everyone goes through a self, you know, a stage of, of self-awareness, uh, self awakening and, and I encourage anyone young I’ve so many young entrepreneurs they’re like, I wanna get into, you know, multifamily. I wanna do. I like how he’s like I’m 22. He’s like go backpacking around the world for two.

Sunil Saxena (11:59):

Right. I’m like I’m I’m with you re that’s definitely. I, I I’m definitely agree with you a hundred percent.

Reed Goossens (12:05):

Yeah. Yeah. So, but, but anyway, let’s walk into to how you got involved in, in real estate and why the, the transition out of outta medicine and, and, and, and maybe walk listeners through what you’ve built today.

Sunil Saxena (12:17):

You know, during that four years, I kind of realized that, I mean, I still love acting a comedy. I still try to do it. I haven’t done it since, you know, pre COVID now it’s been a couple years, but, um, I just realized I’m an entrepreneur at heart. So I gotta build businesses. I didn’t really have a bent towards real estate. I just, I actually did some stuff in the restaurant business. Uh, the restaurant world I did, um, uh, I had like a painting and remodeling company, which actually, I guess, does lead to construction. But I, um, I, I was a chief medical officer for a medical device company for four years. Uh, I also, with my ex-wife, uh, started two very successful dental practices. So I wasn’t like, oh, uh, real estate, real estate, real estate, again, I’m I keep going back to the entrepreneur word.

Sunil Saxena (12:56):

That’s kind of what I really think I’m at heart, but I just realized, realize that real estate is the best of all those businesses. It really is. Uh, you can’t beat the amount of money you can make and, and the, and the financial freedom you can achieve, uh, you can make millions of dollars being a dentist. You can’t make a billion dollars being a dentist. You just can’t, you know, as, as a painting and remodeling company, again, you can make a couple million, but you can’t make a billion mm-hmm . So real estate really has a, almost an unlimited ceiling, if you wanna, you know, that’s why I look at it. Uh, so I really feel that, you know, I, I personally feel everybody, you know, all your listeners, you should be involved with real estate in some form or fashion, uh, because it just has such income potential and, and, and wealth building potential, uh, whether you’re completely passive.

Sunil Saxena (13:38):

And you’re just investing like with someone like myself or you, and, and you’re doing, you have your day job, or you are, you know, full time active, like you and me, or somewhere in the middle, you know, buy some rental properties, hang onto ’em. But the power of real estate is just, you just can’t find that in any of your business, in my opinion. Uh, I know it in those areas, you can make a lot of money. You can, you can go broke too. Uh, so I think real estate is, you know, has a real, a lot of power to make money, but it also is. I dunno, what the right word is, but it’s a relatively stable known way, you know, when you, when you, I’m sure when you buy a multifamily property, you kind of know what you’re getting into. Right. Right. Uh, one of the examples I give is when I, I started actually started some restaurants and, um, you know, when those didn’t do well, that was one of my initial failures where I like, oh, wow, this is like, not just playtime, you kinda lose everything because all the equipment in a restaurant is worth essentially nothing when it goes outta business, versus even if I get into a real estate deal and it kind of goes, quote, unquote, bad.

Sunil Saxena (14:30):

It’s like, maybe you lose 10%. You know, it’s not like a, so I just, I think there’s just, so, I mean, I could talk forever about this, but I think there’s just so many advantages real estate that it’s, it’s a no brainer that, uh, that’s the field that, you know, you, that everyone should be in, in some form or fashion.

Reed Goossens (14:46):

I, I just wanna talk briefly about the realization of getting out of medicine when, when, when was that aha moment? Like I had enough

Sunil Saxena (14:52):

it was during that four years off. Really? Yeah. I mean, I kind of, you know, again, I, I have a very unusual life path, so I, you know, most people find themselves first and then go into something intense, like medicine. I just kind of was put through this. So that, that realization, that, that period of, you know, everyone goes through figuring out themselves that was delayed till after. And that was part of it too. I’ll be honest. I mean, I dunno if there’s any physicians listening, but one of the problems with switching outta medicine is your identity is a doctor. You’re a doctor now. And when you go to a real estate conference and I think people are like, what? You’re a realtor now you’re, you’re a doctor that turned realtor and I’m like, no, no, that’s not quite no, no, , that’s, I’ve heard that so many times.

Sunil Saxena (15:30):

So I think part of that, finding myself part of the difficulty was, you know, um, I’m already a doctor and now you’re going in doing comedy and act who what’s wrong with you. Uh, and not only my parents of course, but you know, any anybody you meet. Uh, but I, I definitely knew in that four year period, this was not my, my end goal. Even when I went back to residency, I kind of did it just to finish my education. I knew the entire time I was not gonna practice. Uh, and as soon as I finished residency, I got a job in medicine to pay the bills. But then I started, you know, various side businesses that eventually led me to, um, you know, leave medicine full time.

Reed Goossens (16:02):

That’s, that’s, that’s incredible. I now, you know, as pivot to this sort of next chapter of your life, the sort of throwing spaghetti against the wall, you know, restaurants and dental practices and all painting businesses. Yeah. What, what are some of the big lessons you took away? You mentioned just earlier that you have a restaurant and you have a bunch of equipment and it goes bad. Well, it’s worthless, it’s worthless, right? It’s, it’s worth nothing because you’re not, you’re not producing any product out of it and people aren’t coming through the door to pay you for that product. Great. So maybe explain to the listeners, some of those big lessons learned from these different array of companies that you’ve started over the years.

Sunil Saxena (16:39):

Yeah. Again, this is the I’m, I’m, I’m enjoying this conversation a lot, cause I love talking about this kind of stuff. So I wish someone would’ve told me this stuff back when I was you 18, 19, early twenties, I think on a personal level, the very first thing that’s so important is figur out what I call your karma. Uh, I’m actually working on my third book right now and it’s, it’s called, uh, uh, Dharma wars. It’s about this concept. It’s a concept from like 3000 BC. So the, so my people way, way back, you know, well, well before Christ and all this stuff, uh, it’s concept of, um, kinda like why you were put on this earth. So it’s not just like your passion, but it’s, it is a mixture of kind of passion and, um, uh, your talents and everything. So, you know, again, the, the example we give, you know, is like, you know, the, the grass was put on the earth to grow.

Sunil Saxena (17:23):

If that’s what it does, you know, cows were put on the earth to give milk. They, and the interesting thing is that like every living organism on this earth, except human beings follows their Dharma to a tea. They, you know, a dog and nobody doesn’t matter what you’re doing. The dog’s gonna be a dog. He could be, you know, at the super bowl, he could be in front of 10,000 people. He doesn’t care. He is a dog human beings. We think, and we change our arm. We’re like, oh my God, where will my parents think? What will people think? As soon as you put a microphone of somebody, they start acting differently. So I think you have to figure that out. What, what, who, you know, what, why were you put in this earth? So that’s the first step, figure that out. And again, you know, I’m not saying the restaurant business is good or bad, but you know, I wasn’t put in this earth to do that business.

Sunil Saxena (18:02):

Uh, other people love it. And that’s what they do. Jose Andres is a perfect example of a guy who’s just crushed it and has done great things. So I think that’s step one. If you’re asking me from a business standpoint, then it’s really, to me, it’s again, it’s like, like think like an investor, right? Like you’re gonna invest X amount of capital into any business, whether it’s dentistry or, or, um, restaurants or real estate, what is your return you’re getting, right. So even when I look analyze real estate deals, now that’s my very first number I’m looking at is what is my return on my investment? If it’s above a certain threshold, I’ll go further. Okay, let’s this, this deal means my criteria. If it’s below that threshold, I’m just like, you know, I got, I got kind of better things to do. So, uh, I dunno if I answered your question, but that was, uh, a lot of, no,

Reed Goossens (18:43):

No, no. I think I can UN unpick that a little bit, because I want use your, your, your example, your life story. You talk about Dharma, DHARMA

Sunil Saxena (18:53):

A DH Dharma. It’s like karma, but Dharma

Reed Goossens (18:58):

Got got it. But I think the, you trying all the things mm-hmm and people listening to this show is a form of going out and figuring out what that dam is, right. It, and, and that’s the beauty of your twenties. , that’s why you have, you have youth on your, on your side. And then, and I encourage anyone. I, I backpacker across the world for two, two and a half years after uni. I loved it. I would do it. I would do it in a heartbeat. You know, the, the simplicity of it, the meeting, the people, but you really get to find out who you are as a person, right. And, and to your point of why you put on this earth. So I think, you know, using your examples as starting the restaurant business, starting a dental business, starting the, the, the contracting and painting business is part of figuring out who you are, right.

Reed Goossens (19:42):

And, and having your, your release of comedy and, and acting. It’s such a, you know, you you’re like a one man band. You like, you’re playing the, you’re playing the trombone, you’re doing all the, you’re doing all the drums and you’re also singing as well. You know, you’re triple threat. So I just wanted to reiterate that for investors, for the people listening, because it is important to have these experiences in life. And, and, and I meet so many people who come across my, my, you know, my podcast, or just come and ask me about questions. And they always, you know, they might maybe a little bit older in life and, and they always, you know, oh, I wish I got started sooner. I’m like, stop beating yourself up. That’s oh, it’s, that was your re you, that was your journey own it, you know, like that’s gonna be part of who you are if it took you a little bit longer.

Reed Goossens (20:21):

That’s okay. There’s still another 40 years of, of life worth living. Go out and start, start today. So I, I just wanna sort of bring it around to, to back to what you’re saying in the DMA, because it is so important that not just to, so no one has it figured out we’re all still figuring it out. Right. And, and, and we, we like to think that we are, you know, have that north star picked. Um, but I remember when I got involved in real estate, the thing was getting outta the day job, get working for myself. That was my north star. I achieved that when I was 31 years of age. Right. Then I was like, what’s my new north star.

Sunil Saxena (20:54):


Reed Goossens (20:55):

What’s go what’s what am I doing now? You know, like, I mean, I’m in the real estate. Let’s okay. What’s next. And I think that’s the beauty of being entrepreneur, right. And, and, and self discovery and understanding who you are because you are constantly over the time. I know that I’ll change my in 10 years time when I’m 45, I’ll probably think a little differently to I’m now when I’m 35 and when I’m 55 will be even different. So right. Being okay with that, I think is also another pressure valve that we have to release. So do you wanna talk about any of that? Because it sounds like there was a little hint of pressure coming out when you were 17. I could, I could pick up that you wanted to go and release that a little bit, because, and, and, and give yourself the permission to say, I need to be curious in these other aspects of my life to figure out who I am and, and back to my

Sunil Saxena (21:37):

DMA. Right, right. No, I, I wanna read, I mean, basically there’s a number of very, very important points you said in there as you were talking, uh, number one is, yeah. Don’t feel like, you know, if you really don’t know what you wanna do, and you don’t feel like you figured out your Dharma, like take your time, because it’s much better to spend a couple years doing that even five years doing that than jump into something. And then, like, I did, you know, I kind of jumped into medicine, so I, I highly would not recommend going all the way through a medical career to realize you don’t wanna be a doctor, uh, try to figure that out, you know, way back then. And, you know, really realize, are you, um, you know, really, is this what you wanna do? I remember about two. So again, before COVID, so I I’m losing all my years, but like maybe three, four years ago, I gave a speech to, um, like high school students.

Sunil Saxena (22:18):

And I think when I talked about Dharma really lit up their eyes, because one girl, I still remember her in the audience. She’s like, she already decided she was gonna medical school. And when I gave that thing, she’s like, you know, why am I doing this? You know? And then at least got her wheels thinking. So I think that’s a very important point. You, you may don’t put the pressure on yourself. The other important point is actually when people tell me that I don’t, you know, I don’t know what I want to do. I recommend travel. That’s exactly what I recommend. I think that’s one of the best ways to, uh, really find yourself, uh, experiencing different cultures, different people, just getting out of this, you know, you know, even in the United States, I mean, we’re pretty homogeneous here, but going to different states is even a different experience, but, uh, I highly recommend going international.

Sunil Saxena (22:57):

So, uh, I love what you said that you did, you spent, you said two years doing backpacking. That’s probably when you figured yourself out and you’re a much better person for it coming out of that instead of other people look at it as, oh, it’s a waste of time and why are you doing all that stuff? Um, I have another fairly good friend here in DC where he, he did the same thing after college. He spent a year and just traveled the world. And his daughter had just was doing that while I was talking to him last time I met him. So his, uh, daughters doing the same thing, just traveling the world for one year. So, um, yeah, I think again, the bottom line fair, your Dharma, uh, whatever it takes to do that, if it takes you all of your twenties, if it takes you one year of your twenties, if it takes traveling, whatever it takes, uh, try different things. Uh, I kind of, I think did it in a kind of expensive way, meaning I really dove into stuff instead of just sampling. I bought the ice cream store and I realized I didn’t want this store. So yeah, I couldn’t agree with, you know, everything saying is a hundred percent spot on. So

Reed Goossens (23:48):

For those of you who are interested in staying up to date with all the latest happenings in my business, or to learn more about passively investing directly into my multifamily value, add deals, then head over to reedgoossens.com and sign up for my monthly newsletter by signing up, you’ll automatically be notified about my new up and coming investment opportunities. You’ll be able to stay up to date with all the latest real estate news here in the United States, and much, much more. So head over to reedgoossens.com and sign up today. Now back into the show,

Reed Goossens (24:23):

You know, I, I’m still living abroad, you know, I’m 36 years of age. I’ve been lived at home since I was 21. So like, I’m still, I’m still backpack, you know, but, but, but tell me what you’re working on today. You know, you’re in the development space, you, you are working in DC. Give, give us a little snapshot of, of the projects you work on there. Cause I happen to come from a structural engineering background. I know ground up construction really, really well. So would love to talk a bit of shop about that.

Sunil Saxena (24:50):

Yeah, basically. Um, I’ve, you know, come to the, I I’ve done small. I started with small rehabs. That’s kind of, you know, what really gave me the, the financial power to get outta medicine. Uh, but then I started, I started a new home building company, which I still have sexing and custom homes. I don’t not, I only I’ve only got two homes going right now. Uh, but then I, you know, what I really realized is the money is in the, in the kind of larger multi-family projects. That’s all we’re doing right now. I have, um, I think it’s for about 16 projects going right now. We have about 200 units in development total. Uh, we’re just building the, the, the, the business right now. Uh, we’re in growth mode. We’re we’re, we, we think six months ago had maybe two or three people on our team. Now we’re at like 10 plus people. That’s awesome. And I just, we’re starting to look at other opportunities as well, like Airbnb and short term rentals. I really like that space where we have a couple in Florida right now. And, um, we, we’re trying to get some in DC right now.

Reed Goossens (25:42):

Are, are you sort of sub 10? What are you, what are you type? What are you building, uh, infield, lots, you coming in and doing highest and best use. And, and we can, I can explain to list as all that is means, but what, what I can only, I’m imagining DC difficult to get things approved because it’s, it’s a major city like LA like New York, like San Francisco, you’ve got historical, you know, conditions you’ve gotta go through. So, so just describe the list. What’s a typical project look like for you.

Sunil Saxena (26:09):

Yeah. There’s no, there’s essentially no raw land left in DC. You can certainly find something, but essentially let’s call it no raw land. So you’re always taking the existing structure and you’re basically trying to maximize the, um, square footage. Yep. So for anybody who wants to get into development or is thinking about that, very first thing to understand is zoning get good at zoning. That’s where you make your money. . And again, uh, when, when I start talking about zoning, people’s eyes go like, oh my God, but it’s really not that hard. If you just go to whatever jurisdiction you want, you’re, you’re operating in and just literally go and click on their different zoning. And just again, I’m not saying becoming expert in it, but understanding, you know, why, you know, how the zoning works and what is different, a commercial and a residential, and what are the setbacks and all these kind of things, uh, have an example of a project we’re actually just about to finish it out as two homes that we’re building, actually the neighbor was gonna buy it.

Sunil Saxena (26:57):

He went to like his architect a said, Nope, you can’t do this. Uh, we went to our architect and said, no, you can’t do this. And our real estate agent who was very smart, who I’ve been working with for over 10 years, read the zoning code and she realized the problem was a frontage. You didn’t have enough frontage to subdivide a lot. But she said that she, she read in the code that the frontage can be measured 15 feet back, and it’s a pie shaped lot. So the, the frontage goes up as you go back mm-hmm . So it did work when you measured it 15 feedback and went back, went back to our architect. And we said, are you sure about this? He’s like, you know, actually you guys are right so that project has, you know, been a year, it’s been a little bit of a stressful project for other reasons. But again, just knowing zoning is what got us that project, for example. And so again, no zoning, and really what we’re doing is basically understanding, you know, in this building, I can, you know, go up, I can go back. I can go down. Here’s what I can do. Here’s what I can’t do. And then we just run numbers. And if the deal works, we, we build it. If it doesn’t, we don’t. So,

Reed Goossens (27:53):

So what are you, what are you seeing today in terms of your, your numbers? Cause everyone’s talking about supply chain and the cost of construction going up. So what are you seeing in the DC area price per square foot? That’s a, it’s a loaded question because I know based on your finishes can depend on how big your price per square foot is on, on, on the build side.

Sunil Saxena (28:10):

Uh, yeah, so we, um, I mean, it’s definitely changed in the last two years. That’s been probably one of the, the biggest challenge we’ve had during COVID is that, uh, prices are just going way up, plus you can’t even get stuff. I mean, windows right now, last I heard were like six months out. Uh, I can’t even get a window here for six months. It’s crazy before it was like two weeks you’d have windows. So, uh, we’re building, I mean, again, like you said, it’s really finishes area. What are you doing? Uh, the density makes a difference between it’s price square, square foot. If I have huge big bedrooms, then my price per square foot goes down. If I have like tiny units with like a lot of kitchens and bass, those are of course are more expensive to build, but we’re anywhere between like, you know, 150 to maybe two 50, a square foot build mm-hmm , um, against

Reed Goossens (28:53):

Single fan, uh, single story or that’s multiple stories,

Sunil Saxena (28:56):

Uh, DC, the, the sweet spot in DC is like, um, it’s, it’s, it’s five stories, but four stories above grade. Yep. And then a basement, that’s a sweet spot because anytime you go above that, you have to change your construction type and then it goes, gets just much more like concrete and all that gets more complicated. Yep. And we can do, usually we can do those with no elevators which can add costs and we can do all stick build.

Reed Goossens (29:16):

Yep. And that’s, and there’s a, for everyone listening, structural engineer, you max, you maximize your stick build at five, five stories. So you’ll see a lot of podium projects where they build a parking garage and they go five, sometimes six, if you can squeeze it. Um, but yeah, stick builder is, is quite limited. Uh, that, that that’s incredible. So, so, and talk to me about why you’ve chosen to just be the master of DC and not, you know, go into more affordable areas, which, you know, you kind of don’t live too far away from

Sunil Saxena (29:46):

Well, um, I, I always keep looking at other areas, but I keep coming back to DC as much as I love and hate it. I’ve got a love, hate relationship with DC. If you look at even like, you know, like Boston properties, which I think is one of the largest in the world, developers, if not in the us, they’re only in five markets. So that’s really my, uh, more my, my, um, my, my theory or, or my, the way I run my business is I feel like being a specialist. I mean, there’s so much to do in DC. I, I could make a billion dollars right here in DC. So, uh, it’s just, I feel like my leverage, like, like what do I bring to the tables? I’m a DC expert. I pretty much know, like every stupid little nuance and, you know, I, I know people I can call, you know, I just kind of know how to get stuff and done in DC.

Sunil Saxena (30:25):

Mm-hmm , uh, and it’s, you know, it’s, it’s, um, it’s always the, the, the best or the fun, you know, it’s a lot of regulation. Um, I always say that, you know, um, you know, like Florida, what is their major export of sunshine, maybe LA is Hollywood movies, DC we’re government. We export government. We’re just good at like government and laws and regulations. And that’s what, just everything hears about that. So, um, I guess that’s, that’s just what I feel like with my advantage is I just know DC and, and other people literally they’ll, they’ll, they’ll, they’ll just shut their eyes. When you hear at DC, uh, we’ve even got contractors who I work with in Virginia. I’m in, I live in Northern Virginia, which is about just 15 minutes from DC, but, um, they just, they refuse to even come to DC. Like, Nope, I don’t work in DC. So you’ve got a lot, I mean, it gives me an advantage because I, I know that area so that there’s less competition and you know, that kind of thing. So, uh, I just, yeah, I found a good niche. It works really well. Um, I think we’ve got a huge amount of growth here that we can experience. Uh, so I don’t, haven’t found a reason to leave DC yet.

Reed Goossens (31:21):

That’s awesome. And, and how are you? I should retract this. A lot of people who, who listen to this show are all about buying existing, large multifamily. That’s what I do across multiple country and multiple states, multiple MSAs to build that cash flow. So in the development space, I know because I, I spent five years as a developer working for guys here in LA and you know, 10 years before that as a structural engineer development is very labor intensive in terms of your staffing, right? It’s not, I can run a 5,000 unit portfolio with three or four people. You know, you couldn’t run, uh, four projects with three or four people. You need probably a, depending on the, you know, the complexity of a project, you might have a person per, per project or per project manager per, per project. So, and it’s very, you know, it long, long entitlement process, long, you know, construction risk. So how are you making a profitable business outta that when it’s so lumpy in terms of it, of the payday, um, cash flow care, cash flow and all that sort of stuff.

Sunil Saxena (32:22):

Yeah. I mean, that, that’s kind of goes back to the basic business, you know, uh, things, I mean, I think anybody who wants to do this, you know, as a business, I mean, again, if, if someone’s investing with you or investing with me and, you know, that’s just, you’re a pure investor, or if you’re buying a few rental properties, you’re not really a business person. I wouldn’t say, I mean, you’re just kind of doing it, but really, yeah. I mean, you gotta understand cash flow. You have to understand human resources. I mean, building an, a team can basically maybe the make or break him in a business you that, and all the business I’ve done that, you know, you really need those a players. Uh, so it’s like basically, you know, creating a good culture, getting the right people on board, um, making sure you have C these are the jobs of a CEO. Uh, and yeah, that is, I mean, for sure, one of the most, you know, difficult parts about being a developer is the cashflow is very lumpy, as you said, but, you know, we have construction draws for all our projects. So we get, we do get paid during different phases of the project. But again, even that is not like we’re getting every two weeks, we’re getting money. It’s just, you know, and

Sunil Saxena (33:18):

That’s when you get to construction, right. That’s not even the entitlement stuff that you gotta get through, which could take years potentially.

Sunil Saxena (33:24):

Correct. Yeah. So, so yeah, that’s definitely a challenge to this business for development, if, if you don’t wanna manage cash flow and that, that kind of scares you then yeah. Don’t be a developer . Um, but, uh, you know, it’s very different than like, like a restaurant business where like literally every day the cash register’s ringing and you, you know, your net proceeds by the end of the day or the, the next morning. Uh, but yeah, it’s just one of those things that cash flow management is, is, is a, is a kind of a, an important skill. The CEO must have for any business , whether it’s, uh, dental or, uh, you know, or whatever, day to day type of business or a more, um, you know, like, like a development type of business,

Sunil Saxena (33:57):

I 100%. So you mentioned earlier, you’ve just brought in some more people where you headed in 20, 22 and beyond, and, and what’s the goal for you? Mm-hmm

Sunil Saxena (34:05):

yeah, I mean, we, we, what we ended up doing is, um, if I just look back the last few years is we kind of, I think kind of overgrew a little bit, we grew too fast. We didn’t have the right people. So the last, I think, six to nine months, we really haven’t even taken on a new project. Uh, before that we were taken on almost like one new project a month. That was our schedule. So we were about 12 new projects a year. So I think we’re probably by, by second half of this year, probably by Q3, we’ll start looking for new projects. Um, I, I do a few, I have another company where I do some small projects on the side, but that’s, that’s different. Uh, but the main business, um, I think we’re still kind of building that team and, uh, getting all those kinks worked out.

Sunil Saxena (34:43):

So I think once we have that, we’ll just kind of resume our 1, 1, 1 project a month. Uh, then we’ll eventually try to get to two projects a month, you know, just kind of keep, keep ratcheting up. Uh, we do, you know, one, one of the things I, I mean, I think real wealth and real estate is built by holding real estate, not just doing what I do in terms of build, sell, build, sell, probably, you know, kind of what you’re doing. Uh, so we, we’re also gonna start dev like certain per percentage of what we develop. We’re gonna hold for the long term. Uh, we just haven’t quite gotten there yet, but again, probably by end of this year, we’ll, uh, we’ll start doing more of that,

Reed Goossens (35:12):

That, that that’s incredible. And then we come through cycles, right? People talk about cycles all the time and, and, you know, when’s the best time to develop and when’s the best time to buy and hold and all that sort of stuff. Are you agnostic to the market cycles because you’re so deep in one market that you can make money in any market in any cycle I should say.

Sunil Saxena (35:30):

Yeah, that, that’s one of the huge advantages of the DC market. That’s, that’s again, why I keep, you know, when I started, we, you know, one of my business partner, they live in Florida and, and we were looking at development down there just cuz I like to be down there too, but it’s just that Mar that cycle, that area is just so up and down with development that you start a project today based on today’s numbers two years now, two years later, it could be like double or it could be half . DC is a very, very, you know, one of, probably the most stable markets in the country, if not the world, to be honest, uh, even during the OA crisis, which I lived through, uh, believe it or not DC proper was only down about 4%. Even the suburbs of DC where I actually had my home, we were down about 30%.

Sunil Saxena (36:06):

The areas of Florida were down 90%. So that means a house that was 300,000 was worth 30,000 . So that’s one of the reasons I like it. Uh, we definitely have our micro fluctuations here, like every three to six months. And also based on the political calendar and defense spending, you’ll start seeing markets go up down a little bit here, but in general, I think there’s, you know, again, I, I hate to say that there’s no market risk, cuz there there’s always market risk as a developer, but it’s relatively stable here in DC. Uh, even during COVID we saw things go up, uh, like significantly. So we, you know, a lot of cities, a lot of big cities like New York were they’re experiencing like kind of a down market during this last couple years. We’re actually we’re we have an up market going on. We we’ve, I think we went up so much and now we’re starting to see a bit of a plateau right now.

Sunil Saxena (36:50):

Uh, so yeah, I, I don’t feel, I don’t, I don’t really try to time the market or play the market. I don’t think that I don’t think anybody can do that. And the more people tell you they can do that. The less they know really typically. Uh, so I think we just develop and um, you know, sometimes we, we end up selling something in a super hot market. We make more than we thought. Uh, the last project we closed out, we were like three or 400,000 above proforma because the market was just super hot when we went to sell. Uh, but we’re pretty conservative in our proformas. And if the market is like, like today, the market’s a little, little, I call it cool in DC, but it’s compared to the rest of the world is probably great, but we get spoiled here. If something doesn’t sell in like 10 days, where’re like, oh my God, what’s wrong with the project? You know? Or the, or the condo unit. So, uh, yeah. I don’t know. I’m kind of being long-winded here, but I think the bottom line that’s one of the reasons I like DC is because it’s a relatively stable market and it’s always, there’s always an undersupply of real estate in DC. Proper.

Reed Goossens (37:41):

Yeah. Well, the reason why I was going with that question is, is it sounds like you, you believe we’re at the new floor, you know, with, you know, the market’s gone up so much. You don’t think it’s gonna come back down again in general. Like, do you have any, uh, opinions on that nationwide?

Sunil Saxena (37:56):

I, I I’ve got opinions, but I try not to. I try to be not one of those guys. Who’s like, you know, acting like I know what cause Obamas, we really don’t know. Right. Interest rate seems be creeping up. We’ve got a lot of instability in the world. I think the, our good old Mr. Biden who just took this office couple, he’s just probably got 10 minutes from here. He’s probably hanging out doing something right now. Uh, I think he’s got a lot of policies that aren’t good, that have really affected, uh, real estate and business. Uh, but I think what you’re gonna see in the, uh, midterm elections in the next presidential cycle is he’s not gonna be there. So I think it’s gonna revert back to some little bit better, more, more sane policies. So I think there’s just so you just never know.

Sunil Saxena (38:31):

Right. That’s the problem is you just don’t know. Uh, I don’t think we could have predicted this, uh, kind of war and in, in, in, well, yeah, I think we could have actually predicted this war to people have been saying this for 10 years, but the timing of it. So there’s so many world events that you just can’t predict, uh, that I think you just have to kind of find a business model that works stick with it, uh, be able to have a plan B if things really do get bad, uh, which we do always and, um, you know, just, just kind of whatever you can never, never be a hundred percent

Reed Goossens (38:58):

right, right. Right. Well, mate, look, I wanna, uh, thanks. Thank you for jumping on the show today. And then at the end of every show, we’d like to dive into the top five investing tips, ready to get into it.

Sunil Saxena (39:08):

Uh, let’s do it. I’ll I’ll do my best

Reed Goossens (39:09):

mate. Question number one is what’s the daily habit you practice to keep on track towards your goals.

Sunil Saxena (39:14):

I think developing morning routine, uh, if you haven’t read miracle morning, do read that book. I think it’s great. Have some kind of morning routine that kind of gets you going and into the right state.

Reed Goossens (39:24):

Nice. Nice question. Number two is the most influential person in your career to date?

Sunil Saxena (39:29):

Honestly, two people. Um, I think Tony Robbins, I think has really helped me along the way, like significantly. I think I, I just, that guy is the Michael Jordan of, of whatever coaching or whatever you wanna call it. Uh, and believe it or not, the very first book I read that kind of got me excited about real estate was Trump’s book, uh, art of the deal. Uh, I gotta think back what year I read that thing, but it was sometime in the early, a long time ago. Yeah. Yeah. So I know the, the T word or the Trump word is not, uh, very popular with a lot of circles, but all I can say is that I read his book at a fairly young age and that kind of really got me excited about being an entrepreneur and being a real estate developer.

Reed Goossens (40:04):

Nice, nice, nice, nice. Uh, question number three is what’s the most influential tool in your business? And when I say tool, it could be a physical tool like a phone or a journal, or it could be a piece of software that you just can’t run the business without. What is it?

Sunil Saxena (40:17):

I think like books, I’m a very, you know, I think books have changed my life and maybe it’s not a tool, but I still, actually, this week I got, I got, I really was in the, I had a lot of extra time. So I’m doing, I read three books this week already. Uh, I try to read like four a month is my goal. I recommend everybody read at least one a month. Uh I’ve that’s one of the reasons I wrote wrote two books is because I wannalike try to share my knowledge, at least help, you know, whoever I can help. So I think, um, you know, reading on a regular basis in educating yourself and improving, then I’m able to take that knowledge and then help my business. So that’s, that’s the best answer I can give you.

Reed Goossens (40:52):

Sorry. Being a consistent learner. And uh, and constantly being a, a student, uh, is really, really important. So, um, so awesome stuff. Question number four is in one sentence, what has been the biggest failure that you’ve learned in your career and, and what did you take away from that failure?

Sunil Saxena (41:07):

I think, um, I mean, I’ve had a lot of failures, so I think that’s one of, one of the things people think is people are successful. Don’t fail. I think it’s a absolutely, you know, the whatever completely untrue. Uh, my very first business when I got into restaurants failed miserably and that’s where I learned a lot. So I think to me, just understanding that failure is a critical ingredient in success. You have to fail to be successful. So don’t look at failure as failure, which has a negative connotation look at learning. Uh, you know, that, that’s where I think that’s also changed my perspective that every time I fail, I don’t, oh my God, I failed. I suck. I’ll never do this kind of attitude. Just say, look, here’s what I learned. Let’s make, not make that mistake again and let’s just move forward. Uh, so I think that’s probably my, my biggest thing is just learning that failure. Isn’t a bad word,

Reed Goossens (41:52):

Right? No, I completely agree that you having failure in your life is gonna set you up for better success in the future. Cause you get to learn from that, that, that failure. Uh, last question mate is where can people reach you to continue the conversation that wanna be in your sphere? Where do they go?

Sunil Saxena (42:05):

Yeah, go, go to my, uh, my main website, hyper fast development.com. That’s our main website and there’s a contact us button. So if you are interested in learning more or wanna get in touch with me, or you wanna invest with us, uh, just go to that website, hyper fast development.com and uh, the contact us information is right there.

Reed Goossens (42:22):

Awesome. Awesome stuff, mate. Well, good. I wanna thank you so much for jumping on today’s show. I wanna reflect some of the things that I took away from today. Show that I think really sums you up as a person. I, I think your cur again, curiosity always seems to be a word on this show. Like people are so curious about things that they want to go and discover. And I, I love what you talked about earlier when we talked about the DMA and, and understanding why you’ve been put on this planet and is looking at your incredible history of all the things you’ve, you’ve, you’ve, you’ve tried to be curious about, you know, your acting, your medicine, your, your comedy, and then developing other businesses around restaurants and, and, and just con continually trying to unturn that rock to, to really get to the, the nuts and bolts of who you are and where you’re gonna be.

Reed Goossens (43:01):

And hopefully now you’re, you’re in, in a space that you’re really, really quite, um, I guess what the word is, uh, you know, yourself not self soothing, but you, you have a calm about yourself that, you know, you’re on the right path in this, in this career, after coming through so many incredible careers that you’ve only learnt more from to help you get to where you are today. So I think that’s been, uh, incredible. And, and I think also just your, your ability to keep very hyperlocal in the DC market to help you understand what is gonna be, uh, how you make money. And it’s a great example of so many people listening to the show. They, they always go to the next shiny object. Where’s the next hot market. Where’s the next hot state that’s blowing up, you know, and knowing that you can always make money in your backyard, you just gotta figure out how mm-hmm . So, um, so yeah. Did, did it leave anything out?

Sunil Saxena (43:49):

No. No, I, I also definitely appreciate you having you the show enjoyable talking to you and, uh, maybe we’ll, we’ll get to meet in person one day.

Reed Goossens (43:54):

I hope so. My friend, I hope so. We’ll again, thank you so much for coming on the show, enjoy the rest of your week and we’ll catch up very, very soon.

Sunil Saxena (44:00):

Thank you.

Reed Goossens (44:01):

Take care. Well, they have another cracking episode jam pack, some incredible advice from Sunil. If you do want to check him out, go over to hyper fast development.com. Uh, he has a plethora of information over there. Get a heck of your hands on some of these books, uh, and just be in his fear, cuz he’s clearly a guy that you got a lot, a lot to learn from with his life experiences. And, uh, I’m sure a lot of people were gonna be listening back to this show. You know, rewinding taking down notes. I wanna thank everyone for taking some time outta your day to tune in, to continue to grow your financial IQ, because that’s what we’re all about here on this show. If you do like to show the easiest way to give back is to give it a five star review on iTunes. All the links from today’s show will be up on my website at reedgoossens.com and we’re gonna do it all again next week. So remember be bold, be brave and go give life a.