See How This Multimillionaire Built His Property Empire

Bryan Collins

What does it take to turn a small investment into an eight-figure business? Property investor Brian Moshayedi’s approach involves buying, renovating and then selling apartments that students rent. 

Brian Moshayedi finished college in 2013. Now aged 31, this millennial owns $130 million in investment property in Isla Vista, a student housing community near the University of California in Santa Barbara.

Moshayedi bought a Sea-Doo for $9,000 from birthday money, savings and Christmas presents at age 13. He eventually sold that personal watercraft and several others for a several thousand dollar profit.

In 2009, at age 19, Moshayedi bought his first rental property in Isla Vista. He funded his $400,000 investment using a loan backed by profits from selling Sea-Doos.

“I thought it'd be nice to buy a building and renovate it and raise the rent and rent it back to these college students,” he says about this early investment. “We gave them some luxury student housing with TVs, surround sound speakers, free Wi-Fi...and furnishings.”

After renovating the apartment building, Moshayedi raised the rent from $13,500 to $28,000 a month. Two years later, he sold the apartments and banked a $1.65 million profit. 

He plowed $900,000 in profits into another investment property. Over the course of a few years, he repeated this process of buying, renovating and renting apartments to some 25,000 students around Santa Barbara. He currently owns 130 units worth $130 million.

Moshayedi works twelve hours per day, six days each week and employs 11 people. His typical workday involves evaluating potential opportunities, underwriting current investments and managing his properties.

“Money is very, very hard to make and very easy to spend. Business is cutthroat,” Moshayedi says. “A lot of discipline and integrity in the business [and] decisions really builds your character.”
“I'm always looking at new investment opportunities. I'm looking at the business and all the pieces that we have moving. I'm basically always looking at new opportunities and managing my own business and the people that work for me,” he says.

Seek Advice

Along the way, Moshayedi enlisted the help of family members, friends and other property developers and managers. He regularly reaches out to his personal network when he faces a problem. 

“If it's for construction, I ask the best general contractor I know for advice or questions. If it's money related, I ask some money managers that I know.”

Today, Moshayedi donates some profits to charitable causes. Although his father was initially skeptical about property investing, he now relies on Moshayedi for advice.

“We didn't talk for a good amount of time, because he thought it was the dumbest thing I did,” he says. “But after [my father] saw how everything turned out... he decided he was selling some shares in his company that he had taken public, and he started buying real estate.”

Moshayedi avoids investment opportunities he doesn't understand and sticks mostly to the college student housing market. He recommends entrepreneurs considering his path focus on one or two areas they understand. 

“Nothing's brought me returns like real estate and college student housing. I control that market very well. So I stick to that, and there's only so much time in a day to focus. I just find it hard to invest in other companies that you don't have control over.”

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Bryan Collins is an author from Ireland who helps writers build authority and earn a living from their creative work

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