June 4, 2019
Episode #63 – Victor Menasce – A Craftsman of Opportunity
“I’m starting with a blank sheet of paper. I’m not looking to find a deal, I’m looking to create a deal.” – Victor Menasce
Victor Menasce is an Ottawa based developer who is active in multiple markets across North America, specializing in new construction of multi-family apartments. He walks his talk in the book he authored “Magnetic Capital: How to Raise All the Funds for ANY Worthy Project” and he is also the committed host of his daily podcast “Real Estate Espresso”.
With a 25-year career in the technology industry as an electrical engineer and executive, Victor had a hectic life with business and travel until the day he decided he needed a change. Victor saw that opportunity within real estate and hasn’t looked back. He is the Vice President of the Ottawa Real Estate Investors Organization and finds his centre in building businesses and spending time with his wife and family.
- Show Notes
- [02:05] Patrick introduces his next guest, Victor Menasce.
- [04:14] Victor and Patrick get rolling on their second take of this conversation!
- [04:54] Victor offers his elevator pitch and how the two primary worlds he’s lived in professionally blend into each other so well.
- [06:48] With his real estate developer hat on, Victor describes how he found himself on that winding path starting in Philadelphia, and the business approach they took to incrementally build on their experience and investments.
- [09:16] Victor explains where their developments are primarily located, why they chose the area and what his strategy is: buy on the line, move the line.
- [12:20] Patrick relates this strategy to a similar REIN fundamental, buying in areas of transition and watching the values increase over time. Victor takes it a step further to BE the catalyst for transition.
- [13:42] Describing a project success, Victor relates how they built in a geographic area they thought may be too far from “the line” but with income projections now exceeded it brings huge value improvements to the building, their cap rates and their clients’ investment returns.
- [15:20] Supply, demand and affordability dictate a broader population moving from city centres like Vancouver and Manhattan out to more affordable hubs with greater lifestyle advantages.
- [16:52] Along with considering the economic fundamentals of an area, Victor provides an example of how they address the needs and the gaps of the end user to tailor their product, which ensures their longevity and success in the market.
- [20:15] A well-rounded project team helps to have a comprehensive understanding of the heartbeat of a marketplace and sets everyone up for success.
- [22:21] A craftsman, Victor’s unique and successful approach lies not in finding a deal, but in creating a deal. Seeing a broad landscape of opportunity vs. a tight, single shot also diminishes the need for competition.
- [26:32] Victor describes five critical elements of attracting capital: develop relationships with investors, establish a track record, establish trust and transparency, offer a compelling opportunity and ensure there is ease and alignment between goals for the project and goals for the money – if it feels forced, don’t do it.
- [29:05] With a successful career in the technology business already, what attracted Victor to the business of real estate?
- [31:46] Expanding on that, and aside from the money, what lights Victor up about real estate? This man likes a good challenge!
- [33:33] Victor starts his day first with how he wants to show up as a leader, so he can do what he needs to do and have what he wants to have in the realm of his life.
- [34:53] As part of a team in different operational centres, Victor talks about how they create a foundational culture to serve as a touchstone when things get off track and within that, stay connected.
- [38:02] Victor distinguishes the types of communication he has with investors based on their investing experience, their priorities with their investment funds and what they’re counting on from the opportunity.
- [41:47] Victor gives an example to illustrate his two-prong approach for setting goals in his business: attainment goals and habit goals.
- [44:31] In the context of training your habits, Victor recounts a true story of two comedians who challenged each other to write material for 30 minutes, every day, for a month. One of them quit after a month, one continued for another seven years and went on to be very successful… can you guess who?
- [45:18] Beating the drum of supply and demand, Victor shares how it equally influences what he’s up to in the Canadian development market, particularly in the Rocky Mountains of Alberta.
- [48:46] Victor and Patrick dive into the critical elements of clarity with development and short term rentals: who is your desired end user and what are their needs, understand zoning, and get your finger on the pulse of true demand (and sometimes the glut of supply) in a particular city.
- [53:34] Victor circles back to talks about how he began his rental property business in Ottawa. Once again operating from a business mindset, seeing the gaps and tailoring his product to suit the market and meet the needs of his investors’ money.
- [56:17] Victor describes Tom, who is their ideal “customer avatar” and the business model they have intentionally built over time, to continually support these types of investors.
- [59:04] Victor reflects on a learning moment he and his business partners had with raising capital for a project from the wrong source. It’s always a process!
- [60:13] Coming from an executive position and a long career in the tech industry, what was the catalyst for Victor to make a turn away from that career over to real estate?
- [63:17] An entrepreneur from the start Victor has always been involved in raising capital, but there are key differences between raising it for someone else and being the lone guy.
- [64:48] Though not traditional entrepreneurs, Victor’s parents were certainly pioneers in their field and made an impact in their industries.
- [66:09] All projects will experience a problem of some magnitude along the way, even when it seems very straightforward. Victor recounts a story to illustrate that point and highlights the need for grit, resilience and fortitude.
- [70:56] Victor shares a lesson he has learned along the way which is, if something is systemically not working, as a leader, he must determine what changes need to be made to get the right people in the right chairs.
- [72:17] Patrick and Victor discuss the fundamental truth that as business owners, when things are going wrong in the business, we must first look in the mirror and take responsibility for how we are being.
- [74:07] Victor’s life centres on his family and his business, and he finds grounding in the morning meditation practice he and his wife do together.
- [76:06] His commitment to complete his day in a quality manner sometimes spills over into the evening, which Victor finds creates a challenge for personal evening routines.
- [77:54] Getting back to morning routines, Victor also incorporates daily journaling. Exercise will ebb and flow with the demands of his projects, but it is important and feels better when he can.
- [80:00] Winding things down with some rapid fire: what books is Victor reading? Favourite inspirational quote, favourite swear word, a job he shouldn’t do but keeps doing because he’s good at it, messages at the pearly gates, room-desk-car, favourite tune and favourite movie. Plus, a little sidebar about how his love of music meshed with his early career in sound engineering.
- [85:26] Victor’s gratitude.
Connect with Victor Menasce:
Selected Links and People Mentioned from this episode:
The Real Estate Espresso Podcast
Principles by Ray Dalio
The 12 Week Year by Brian P. Morgan and Michael Lennington