Getting started with real estate investments: A Q&A with Victor Bomi of ATLCO

by Rincey Abraham

Victor Bomi got interested in real estate investments in 2013 while being mentored by professionals who were actively investing — one who was a wholesaler and another who was a rehabber. Through that experience, Bomi was able to gain a lot of knowledge and learn from people in the business. From there, Bomi began selling investment properties to hedge funds before starting his own business, ATLCO Real Estate Advisory & Investment Firm. Through ATLCO, Bomi hopes to empower others to get into the real estate investment world.

Q: A lot of people may not think they can get into real estate investment — whether it be because of money or just knowledge about what to do. What would you recommend to someone to figure out if real estate investment is for them?

The first step is to understand your why. Why do you want to get into real estate? Some people do it to create financial stability, others to create wealth, or maybe they already have capital and they want to put their money into something more tangible. I just met a guy who got into it because he loved the aesthetics of renovating homes.

There are different types of motivation, and I would recommend that you have an understanding of why you want to do it. If you don’t know why you want to do it, you can lose motivation and get discouraged easily, as opposed to someone who has a purpose.

The next point is to know your market. You need to get out there and see what are properties actually selling for, what areas are or are not hot or may be hot in a couple of years. We know that there is a lot of activity around the BeltLine and certain parts of Cobb County. See where the market is trending and where you can get in at now low and before other investors join the party.

Q: What are some other common misconceptions you hear about when it comes to real estate investments?

One of the big misconceptions include that it is as easy as HGTV. A lot of times, people don’t factor in other costs associated like closing costs, taxes and insurance. Knowing the numbers is an important aspect of investment, and not having a clear understanding of analyzing a property is what puts people in trouble.

A lot of people lose money because they see a nice property and pay too much for it. But investors need to find homes that are less put together — the uglier the house, the better. Typical homebuyers will see an ugly house and won’t want to touch it, but an investor can see opportunity. Understand those details, know your strategy, and put together a business plan and business model from there.

People get into real estate thinking that it is a “get rich quick” option, that real estate has created millionaires. But you have to have a plan and you have to have a team. You can’t go into this and think you can do everything yourself. The most successful people understand the importance of a team and leveraging other people’s expertise. Real estate is a team sport, and there are a lot of moving parts to be a successful investor. You know what you’re good at doing. Know how to build relationships with people who can help you get your project from point A to point B to point C.

Q: What should agents do to help new investors? Are there steps they can take in order to educate themselves to help their clients?

Agents need to understand how an investor looks at a property compared to how a typical homeowner would view a property. Most buyers are typically looking at the features and aesthetics of a home, but investors are looking at the numbers. Agents should understand that investors who are planning to flip the home are going for 65 to 70 percent off the retail value.

For a rental investor, agents can add the most value by being able to educate the investor on what is going on in the area: what the school districts are like, if it has high or low crime rates, if the area is full of rentals or new developments. Be an agent that can stay on top of the market and let the investor know what is going on in terms of new opportunities.

I’ve had agents where I give them my criteria, and they will set me up on a hot sheet list. As new listings pop up on the MLS, it’ll get sent to me. Be able to always give your investor an opportunity to buy something through you, even pocket listings. Most investors love pocket listings because you can get better deals.

Understand your investor and understand that this is a long-term relationship. This is a long term commitment where you have the opportunity to work with someone who could create more volume. You might make less per transaction, but you can make consistent income because you’ll have a ready and able buyer for properties.

Q: What should investors do to maximize their relationship with their agent?

Investors should have criteria for the types of home they are looking for and provide that to their agent. Help them help you. Be very detailed in terms of what you’re looking for, price ranges, areas that you want to search. Let them know how you operate and what you’ll say yes or no to. It’ll help the agent be more efficient with your time.

Q: What is it about Atlanta specific that makes it worth investing in?

As more corporations move to Georgia and see the value here, you’ll see more people coming. As more people come, there will be demand for properties, and the prices are going to rise over the next three to five years. And there are a lot of parts of Atlanta that are prime for redevelopment.