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United Capital Source CEO Jared Weitz Discusses The State of Small Business Finance

September 24, 2020
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Jared Weitz, the CEO of United Capital Source, recently sat down (virtually) for an interview with me to discuss the state of small business finance. During it, Weitz makes an alarming prediction, that pandemic related events will lead to 50% of all restaurants permanently closing. You can watch our full talk below:


United Capital Source CEO Jared Weitz Appeared on Fox News

April 21, 2020
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This week, Jared Weitz, CEO of United Capital Source, appeared on Fox News to talk about the PPP, EIDL, and small business lending. Video below:

Bizfi Alum Jared Weitz Reflects on Demise of Former Employer and Rise of UCS

October 9, 2017
Article by:

Jared Weitz United Capital SourceJared Weitz has come a long way since his earlier days as one of the original Bizfi employees. Today he’s at the helm of online funding marketplace United Capital Source (UCS), which has been on a tear since deBanked last spoke with Weitz a couple of years ago. The UCS founder and chief executive took some time to revisit with us about having to painfully watch the demise of his former employer, which is where he cut his teeth in this business, and the rise of his own company UCS as a funding marketplace.

In some ways, the more things change the more they stay the same. Since the last time Weitz spoke with us, the company’s location remains in the heart of Times Square in New York, and UCS has grown its staff by only four people including two sales reps. What has changed, however, is the amount of funding that the company has done and the size of the average transaction, all of which have blossomed.

“When we first spoke a few years ago we were doing $8 million to $10 million a month in funding volume. Now we are doing between $14 million and $16 million per month,” said Weitz.

He added that where the company differentiates itself is that while a few years ago the products they were selling were predominately in the sub-prime space now they sell other products, which allows merchants to “swim upstream” when they qualify for that.

The result has been bolstered partnerships and product offerings and an average loan size that has jumped from $30,000 to $40,000 per deal to a range of $500,000 to $2 million.

“We opened up the funnel to the kind of relationships we’re able to broker and the kinds of financings we’re able to offer. We’re playing in the field of SBAs, account receivables financing, lines of credit and asset backed loans. By offering these products our volume has jumped significantly and allowed us to talk to different referral partners.”

UCS does all of its own marketing and generates leads for their in-house sales reps. Those sales reps take a file from open to close and they analyze the small business owner’s needs on a consultative call.

“We understand their business and their pain points. The first question we ask isn’t how much do you need but what’s paining you in your business today that we can help you with?”

One such business owner recounted his experience with UCS to deBanked, saying that traditional banks were “an absolute pain” to secure funding. He spoke of the “very stressful” and time-consuming process of applying for a loan, saying he doesn’t have time to “jump through a million hoops to get a loan.”

Jared Weitz deBanked Magazine Cover United Capital Source

“When I was initially looking to curb my temporary cash flow problem, I searched online for the best alternatives to traditional bank loans. I read all the reviews on companies and decided to call UCS,” the business owner told deBanked, adding that he’s been a UCS repeat customer for a number of years and is especially fond of the ease at which the process is completed.

“I could literally call Jared today and have six figures in my account tomorrow. The best part is the pay back process. They only take funds when I run credit card transactions. So, in my slow months, I don’t have to stress and worry about repaying the loan. UCS is a perfect fit for me,” the business owner said.

Eye Opener

As the seventh or eighth employee of Bizfi, Weitz really has been part of the evolution of online funding. He says the rise and fall of Bizfi has been an “eye opener” for him.

“It caused a bunch of funding companies to be a little gun shy when it comes to funding. I told my guys this too shall pass. People are shaken and wondering if it’s a larger global issue. Thankfully it’s not a global issue. There are plenty of funding companies that are well backed that are still funding. My group is well able to pick it back up. We have signed up with more funding companies to increase our offerings and make sure we have no concentration issues,” said Weitz.

And although he left the company to eventually launch UCS, which has proven to be a prudent move, he has nothing but respect for his former employer.

“My history there is very deep and I’ve got a genuine love for the founders of the company. It’s where I cut my teeth. I was really sad the day I heard they’re not funding anymore.”

In fact, Bizfi was one of the funders that UCS counted among its partners.

“We had a good book there. We started to see problems and began to shift where our new business was going. Thankfully it didn’t affect me. But it showed me that you should sign up with more funding companies. If you think the mix should be X go 50% more and be super cautious. This approach has worked out for us,” he said.

Weitz has advice for other funders that might be looking to grow at lightning speed.

“Someone that’s growing so fast while they’re also innovating and looking to close larger transactions that bring them to a bigger place – that’s hard to do all at once. Driving at 200 MPH either works out well and takes you to the finish line or it doesn’t work out really well. It’s really unfortunate that it didn’t work out for them.”

jared weitzDeal Competition

For its part, UCS competes with the likes of LendingTree and other online marketplaces, but that seems only to add an ounce of perspective to Weitz and the UCS team, driving them to adjust and remain nimble so that they can get the next deal.

“Healthy competition is good for us. We welcome anything like that. Some of my best learning experiences have been when we were beat out on a deal. I call the merchant personally and say hey, who gave you the deal? Honestly, I want to sign up with them and offer those rates to my clients. We form a friendship with both the funder and the small businesses,” he said.

UCS also counts some high-profile funders among its partners.

“We’ve worked with some funders forever and it’s been great. But we really had to also find folks that offer certain products but at a cheaper rate,” said Weitz, pointing to the scenario of a merchant having a few of those loans under their belt and improved credit as a result. “They are being solicited by depository banks and can qualify for that rate. We don’t want to lose the relationship. My thought process is sign up with similar folks with that product and when the time comes we can swim the merchant upstream.”

For instance, not all funders offer SBA loans but UCS has been doing so for the past two years. “It’s really kind of taken off for us over the last year. The same thing with accounts receivable and future order financing.”

UCS acts as both a broker and investor in their own deals, so they have a vested interest in the underwriting standards. “Investing with some of our funding partners on the syndication side allows us to have buying power and to take an actual interest in the merchant we’re dealing with,” said Weitz, adding that UCS takes a hybrid approach offering both a fully automated underwriting process for those merchants who want it but also having the capability to talk to the business owners, which is what the large majority of business owners prefer.

Meet the Source: How Jared Weitz and United Capital Source became one of the industry’s fastest growing shops

October 23, 2015
Article by:

This article is from deBanked’s September/October magazine issue. To receive copies in print, SUBSCRIBE FREE

Jared Weitz came from humble beginnings and nearly settled for a humble fate. But associates say an ordinary, uneventful life wouldn’t have suited him – he works too hard and figures things out too quickly.

Almost ten years ago Weitz, 33, was parking cars to earn money for community college. After finishing at St. Johns University, he almost made plumbing his career. But now he’s CEO of United Capital Source LLC, an alternative-finance brokerage with deal flow of between $9 million and $10 million a month and an annual growth rate of over 65 percent.

Business associates, former bosses and his small cadre of employees all seem to revere Weitz for his honesty and straightforwardness. They consider him a personal friend. They say he continues to grow as a businessman and as a human being while taking pleasure in helping others do the same.

Jared Weitz United Capital Source deBanked Magazine

Geographically, Weitz has the good fortune to know where he belongs – the city of New York is in his DNA. “Every time I fly back,” he said, “I’m so happy to land.”

His love affair with the city began in Brooklyn. He was born there and raised in a Brighton Beach apartment in the shadow of Coney Island. When he was 16, the family moved to Oceanside on Long Island.

As the second of six children, Weitz had to come up with the money for college on his own. “My older sister and I had to pay our way,” he said. “Everybody else, my dad was able to cover.” He started school at Nassau Community College, selling cell phones and parking cars at night.

brighton beach brookynBut then came an abrupt change. Once Weitz saved enough money, he transferred to Tulane University in New Orleans to pursue a relationship with a woman who was finishing her studies there. He attended classes part-time, worked as the athletic director at the Jewish Community Center, tended bar in a Mexican restaurant and served summonses for a law firm.

The relationship with the woman fizzled, but Weitz made lasting friendships during his days down south. His old roommate in New Orleans, who now practices law in Atlanta, serves as counsel for United Capital Source.

When Weitz had been in New Orleans for two years, Hurricane Katrina struck. He evacuated to Houston, where he stayed in a Holiday Inn for two weeks before realizing he wouldn’t be able to return to southern Louisiana anytime soon. The magnitude of the devastation was just too great.

Shouldering the duffel bag of belongings he had managed to pack on his back during the evacuation, he returned to New York, enrolled in St. John’s University and began working in sales for Honda Financial Services and parking cars.

Weitz had started school expecting to become a teacher. He had grown up with younger siblings and liked leadership roles, which convinced him teaching would be a good fit.

Still, many of his college jobs had required him to sell. As a bartender, for example, he promoted drink specials. As an athletic director he convinced people to sign up for classes. “Everything that I took to naturally wound up being in the sales, marketing and finance arena,” Weitz observed.

When he was nearly finished at St. John’s, Weitz was parking a car for an acquaintance who offered him a job as a union plumber. Suddenly, he was making $27 an hour and had health benefits. “It was a big breather for me,” Weitz recalled.

He quit his three jobs and labored as a plumber from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. School started at 3:30 p.m. for him and stretched into the evening. But when he finished his degree, working as a teacher for $35,000 to $40,000 a year no longer seemed attractive.

Besides, his plumbing work didn’t center on toilets. On typical commercial plumbing jobs he did things like install air, medical and gas lines in hospitals. He was reading blueprints and bidding for jobs. A promotion to foreman didn’t seem that far off.

At about the same time, near the end of 2006, a friend, Mike Caronna, landed a job at Bizfi, formerly known as Merchant Cash and Capital (MCC), The company, which had just started and had only a few employees, was looking for underwriters.

New York City

As fate would have it, Weitz fell into a conversation with a fellow union plumber, one who had been on the job for 30 years. The older man reminded him that his wages would never climb much higher than they were right now. The veteran plumber then showed the younger man his hands, bent from decades of holding tools. “That got me thinking,” Weitz said.

He asked his friend Caronna to arrange a job interview at MCC. He got an offer and took a 90-day leave from his plumbing job to give the world of finance a try. “After about two weeks, I knew it was for me,” he said of the alternative-finance industry. It was by then the beginning of 2007.

Weitz excelled as an underwriter, and the company CEO, Stephen Sheinbaum, picked him and four others for a sales contest. Sheinbaum gave them some leads and turned them loose. Weitz won the competition but asked his boss to help him gain experience in business development and operations before taking on a sales position.

Sheinbaum was happy to comply. “He is one of the best and the brightest in the space,” he said of Weitz.

So, at age 25, Weitz found himself building a business development department by cultivating relationships with ISOs and persuading them to send business to MCC. “It was amazing,” he said of those days. “That was a big opportunity.”

“AFTER ABOUT TWO WEEKS, I KNEW IT WAS FOR ME,” HE SAID OF THE ALTERNATIVE FINANCE INDUSTRY.

Weitz learned the mechanics of the business. He found that the right ISO can originate good deals and a bad ISO can ruin deals. He learned the politics of when to talk, when to remain silent and when to let someone vent.

Then Weitz and a good friend at MCC, Anthony Giuliano – who’s now managing partner of Sure Payment Solutions – worked out how they could improve the MCC sales effort. They pitched Sheinbaum on the idea of having a second internal sale force, and that led to the birth of Next Level Funding (NLF), a division of MCC.

Weitz and Giuliano each owned 10 percent of NLF, and MCC owned 80 percent. “I’m 26, about to be 27, and I’m like, ‘You did it, Man,’” Weitz said as he looked back.

After about four months, NLF absorbed MCC’s original sales division. Next, Giuliano and another executive, Paul Giuffrida, decided to leave MCC. Weitz felt torn. He felt an allegiance to Giuliano and respected Giuliano’s knowledge of programming – a subject that was alien to him. Yet Sheinbaum had provided Weitz a series of opportunities.

Weitz stayed at MCC but felt he deserved to become chief sales officer. When that didn’t happen, he sold his shares back to the company at a dramatically reduced price to extricate himself from a non-compete clause and set off to start United Capital Source (UCS).

With a five-figure investment, Weitz and his then partner, started UCS in January of 2011 in a 250-square-foot office in Long Beach, L.I. Weitz invested about 90 percent of the money he had saved while working at MCC.

Jared Weitz United Capital SourceJon Baum left NLF with Weitz and became the first UCS employee. Within a week or two, Danielle Rivelli, left NLF to join UCS, and Weitz put the remaining 10 percent of his savings into the business to meet the expanded payroll. Today, Baum and Rivelli are UCS sales managers.

The first month UCS was open, it funded $240,000 in deals. “It just felt good to be on my own and start funding deals,” Weitz said. From the beginning of UCS, he won praise from funders for bringing them the right kind of deals with merchants who were likely to repay.

“He really has the pulse of the marketplace and what a lender is looking for,” said Todd Sherer, who handles business development for Entrepreneur Growth Capital. “He doesn’t waste time giving you transactions that don’t fit in your box.”

That’s because doing things right means a lot to Weitz. “He is one of the most straightforward, honest, high-integrity people I have met in the industry,” said Steven Mandis, adjunct associate professor at the Columbia University Business School and chairman of Kalamata Capital LLC.

He’s won the OnDeck seal of approval. “OnDeck has a rigorous and extensive background check process as part of our broker certification process,” said Paul Rosen, OnDeck’s chief sales officer. “Jared Weitz and United Capital have passed our screens and process and are currently active brokers for OnDeck.”

And with time, Weitz has learned patience. He was sometimes short with funders when he started his company but has matured into a pleasant person to deal with, said Heather Francis, CEO of Elevate Funding. “I’ve seen that growth with him,” she said.

All of those good qualities soon came together to help UCS succeed. Within four months of its launch, the company rented a 1,500-square-foot office in Garden City and hired two more people. Next came a 3,200-square-foot office in Rockville Centre and three more employees.

“The company was growing and gaining traction,” Weitz recalled. “I bought out my original partner.” Since then, Vincent Pappalardo has invested in UCS and become a minority partner.

Meanwhile, the lease was expiring on Long Island, and Weitz felt the time had come to move to Manhattan. That would enable the company to draw employees from throughout the region and not just Long Island.

“We decided to bite the bullet and pay the excess money to move to the city because we believed it would be better for the business,” Weitz said. He added two people and rented a 5,500-square-foot space near Penn Station in the Garment District in September of 2014.

36th and 8th AvenueWithin three months of making the move to Manhattan, business doubled. “Being in a faster-paced environment caused the business to go through another growth phase,” he said. After nine months in the city, UCS is now taking over a whole 8,500-square-foot floor of the same building.

UCS remains a small shop in terms of headcount with 21 people, but the company’s funding numbers equal the output of many brokerages five times its size. Twelve of the UCS employees work in sales, with the others engaged mainly in underwriting, operations and customer service.

Less than 2 percent of UCS’s funding volume comes from broker business. “We self-generate all of our business,” Weitz said, declining to elaborate too much on his company’s marketing efforts.

“My salespeople – bar none – are the best in the industry,” he claimed. “Much like the Navy has the SEALS and the Army has the Rangers, there are groups in the industry that can do triple or quadruple what other people do because that’s just the way they are.” His people fund an average of $750,000 per month per person in new business, while his renewals reps fund well into the 7-figure range per person.

UCS salespeople achieve their results because they have detailed knowledge of the industry, Weitz said. The staff’s understanding of alternative finance doesn’t end with sales but also includes underwriting and finance, he noted. “That’s what makes you a very good and knowledgeable sales rep,” he maintained.

His salespeople don’t just tell a client what he or she wants to hear. They take the time to understand the client’s financial situation. “They know how to read a profit and loss statement, a balance sheet and tax returns,” Weitz said.

“MY SALESPEOPLE – BAR NONE –
ARE THE BEST IN THE INDUSTRY”

While 90% of Weitz’s sales team has a college degree, most of the salespeople have come from outside the industry, he said, noting that one was with Sleepy’s, the mattress company. Another was selling memberships at a gym, one worked for a credit card processing company, two were barbers and one had just graduated from college.

UCS doesn’t make double-digit commissions because the company isn’t over-charging merchants, Weitz maintained. The company does not obtain excess funding that a customer can’t afford or increase the factor rate to dangerous levels, he noted.

“You’re not really helping the merchant” by providing too much capital, Weitz asserted. “You’re sucking the blood out of him before he goes away. That’s not why I’m in business.”

A clean record will also prove beneficial when federal regulation comes to the industry, he said. Integrity in the workplace can also spill over into other parts of a person’s life, Weitz believes.

Jared Weitz on Cover of deBanked MagazineAs UCS grew larger and Weitz grew older, he saw his employees rent their first apartments and then buy their first homes. He learned then that he had taken on more responsibility than was apparent to him at first.

To accommodate the employees he added a human relations department and commissioned a company handbook. He’s also started marketing, finance, operations and other departments.

He’s lost only four employees because he pays them well, respects their time and doesn’t view their youth as a liability.

Meanwhile, talking daily to merchants and hearing about their heartaches and triumphs has humbled and matured Weitz. Seeing how the merchants’ choices panned out or fell short also shaped him and helped him grow up a little, he said.

Weitz has found time in his 70-hour workweek to meet his future bride. They’re planning to wed next year, and he plans to invite his entire staff. “It wouldn’t feel right without them,” he said.

Weitz has skipped the Ferrari, Rolls Royce and mansion because he didn’t feel he needed them. But even without those status symbols, it’s clear that Weitz has avoided settling for a humble fate.

As for what comes next, UCS is said to be developing an online marketplace to take their business to the next level, though Weitz declined to provide specific details about how it will work. “We’re on pace to do more than $100 million worth of deals a year,” Weitz said. “And as far as we’ve come, I feel like this is still just the beginning.”

This article is from deBanked’s September/October magazine issue. To receive copies in print, SUBSCRIBE FREE

United Capital Source CEO Jared Weitz is deBanked’s September / October Cover

October 10, 2015
Article by:

Jared Weitz came from humble beginnings and nearly settled for a humble fate. But associates say an ordinary, uneventful life wouldn’t have suited him – he works too hard and figures things out too quickly.

Almost ten years ago Weitz, 33, was parking cars to earn money for community college. After finishing at St. Johns University, he almost made plumbing his career. But now he’s CEO of United Capital Source LLC, an alternative-finance brokerage with deal flow of between $9 million and $10 million a month and an annual growth rate of over 65 percent.

Business associates, former bosses and his small cadre of employees all seem to revere Weitz for his honesty and straightforwardness. They consider him a personal friend. They say he continues to grow as a businessman and as a human being while taking pleasure in helping others do the same.

Geographically, Weitz has the good fortune to know where he belongs – the city of New York is in his DNA. “Every time I fly back,” he said, “I’m so happy to land.” His love affair with the city began in Brooklyn. He was born there and raised in a Brighton Beach apartment in the shadow of Coney Island. When he was 16, the family moved to Oceanside on Long Island.

As the second of six children, Weitz had to come up with the money for college on his own…

To read the FULL 4-page exclusive, you’ll need to subscribe to deBanked!

United Capital Source Jared Weitz deBanked Magazine

In this September/October issue, payments and finance journalist Ed McKinley explored the story behind United Capital Source, one of the industry’s fastest growing shops and what it took for its 33-year old CEO to get there.

For current subscribers, this edition will be dropped in the mail on Tuesday the 13th. deBanked’s Sean Murray will have a limited amount of extra copies with him at Lend360 in Atlanta and Money2020 in Las Vegas if you’re interested to get your hands on one in person.

As Alternative Finance Leaves NYC, Long Island May Be The Next Best Option

January 26, 2022
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Long IslandAs things like cost of rent, remote work, and incoming disclosure laws cause uncertainty in the hub of alternative finance, many in the industry have decided to leave New York City. Some however, say the perception of a mass exodus is false, and it is Long Island that checks all the boxes for alternative finance’s new home.

“My company started on Long Island and it’s where most of our staff is from, so logically it made sense to keep it there in the beginning of [our] journey,” said Jared Weitz, CEO of United Capital Source. “It’s close to people’s homes so the commute is less for staff and the office space can be 10 to 40 percent less on cost and your loss factor on space is less so the space you do rent, you actually get to use more of.”

According to Weitz, employees in the industry lost a desire to commute during the pandemic. When transitioning from in-person work to remote and then back to in-person, it seems like a commute to Manhattan was a tough sell.

“During [the pandemic], a ton of larger companies who had massive offices in Manhattan ticked it down,” said Weitz. “Staff also didn’t want to commute anymore and so many offices in the city have either moved out to Long Island or stayed in [New York City] to smaller offices and did [remote work] with employees.”

Wall StreetWhen asked about the value of a Downtown Manhattan address on a business card, Weitz abruptly dismissed the notion that names like Wall, Rector, and Pine still hold the same prestige as it did in years past.

“No, no, no, no one looks at that anymore,” Weitz said. “Most often people are focused on client experiences, so reviews online, time in business, online presence, what can be found about them.”

Weitz spoke on the quality of employees that come from the New York area, and how their work ethic and work experience are some of the best the industry has to offer.

“Look, I’m from New York so I’m partial and I can see why people say [this]. New York [workers] have a certain grit, and a certain fight with laser focus determination.”

“I think there are people who are smart and who hustle anywhere,” Weitz continued. “While southerners may have a laid-back lifestyle, I know plenty who hustle hard, [but] I do think you can always tell the difference from a New York sales rep versus another.”

It’s Time to Check That ISO Agreement and Balance the Broker/Funder Relationship

November 8, 2021
Article by:

redline an iso agreementThe fine print of ISO Agreements, long a thorn in the side of brokers when it’s worked against them, is an area that is ripe for change. All too often the price of a referral relationship is a take-it-or-leave-it contract that is not up for negotiation. So says Jared Weitz, CEO of United Capital Source and Co-Chairman of the Broker Division at the SBFA. He told deBanked that he’s gotten major pushback from some funders for redlining deals prior to inking them.

Aware that he is not alone in dealing with this, Weitz is looking to push out uniform agreements to the industry that would align both sides, creating a fair arrangement and providing for mutual indemnifications.

“I want to explain the importance of it on a broker’s side because I think that what is happening is that there are funders who solicit business [by saying] that they are broker and customer-centric, us being the customer, and [then] we get handed an agreement that literally signs [our] business away,” said Weitz.

“If you don’t know any better, you’re totally screwed.”

Weitz spoke in detail about how the concept of redlining an agreement is a part of doing business with large financial institutions, but when it comes to funders, it’s an entirely different situation.

“In most industries, it’s such a normal thing to redline an agreement. We were [working] with AMEX, a huge company, and it was understood like ‘hey, shoot this over to your lawyer, let us know,’ it was already understood that we were going to redline it. In [small business lending] if you want to redline something, it’s almost like the funder gets offended.”

When it comes to mutual indemnification, Weitz talked about how this is the biggest issue in these types of deals, especially as new laws are creeping into certain states that are going to change the way many funders do business. In response to some of these new laws, funders are not only trying to put all of the legal responsibility on the brokers, but forcing them to give up their book of business in order to get deals done.

“THE GUY THAT DOESN’T LET YOU REDLINE HIS AGREEMENT, YOU SHOULD RUN AWAY FROM THAT GUY…”

“Now that there are new laws popping up in different states and being enforced differently, funders have come out with new agreements, and look, that’s okay to do right, any broker worth their salt is going to say ‘hey, we agree to not lie and mislead, we agree to follow the TCPA laws, to follow the CAN-SPAM email laws,’ that stuff is easy. What is with these agreements is that you have funders that say to a broker in the [contract], we want the right to come and fully audit your books.”

After the implementation of his own mutual agreement, Weitz claims that a quarter of the funders he worked with prior to his agreement no longer want to do business with him.

loan contract“There is a large 25 percent, and were talking about big name funders that I have stopped working with over the last twelve to eighteen months because they have literally tried to hit me with the most onerous agreement you could ever see, and when I spoke to them about it, they said ‘you know what Jared, most people just sign this and send it back.’ And that made me afraid for the broker industry.”

Although a positive relationship with a funder is imperative to being a successful broker, Weitz believes that some type of mutual agreement will protect people like him from being taken advantage of when things don’t go as planned for the funder.

“The guy that doesn’t let you redline his agreement, you should run away from that guy, because I have been in that scenario, where I’ve hugged, I’ve eaten at a man’s house with his family, and I’ve had that same man when things are down do what he has to do.”

Weitz talked about how the relationship with a funder can start a business relationship, but stressed that a fair agreement keeps it going. “Everyone’s friends when they’re making an agreement. Everyone’s [all] smiles, everyone is handshakes and hugs, but when things are bad in the world, and those smiles turn into straight faces, people look to that agreement, and say ‘okay what can I do?’”

When asked about losing deals to brokers who are willing to sign their lives away to get a deal done, Weitz said that those types of brokers are the ones that even if they do make a quick deal, they will never survive long enough to make a legitimate impact on the industry.

“I think funders will say ‘listen, you sign this agreement we will give you XYZ,’ and let me tell you, that’s the funder that is going to take your lunch from you, and that’s real,” said Weitz.

“The guy that offers you everything to just sign without a redline, is the guy that will crush your business, mark my words.”

Why Funders Are Investing in Real Estate As Their Side Hustle of Choice

January 25, 2021

house on cash

This story appeared in deBanked’s Nov/Dec 2020 magazine issue.

house for saleAfter five years in finance, Peter Ribeiro decided to strike out on his own and start US Business Funding in 2008, providing equipment leasing and financing for businesses. But when the housing market collapsed four months later, Ribeiro saw a second major business opportunity emerge. Earlier that year, he had purchased a $250,000 home in southern California that appraised for $355,000 at the time he bought it. Within seven months, the home’s value plummeted to $95,000. “I told myself I knew the area really well, so I might as well start buying some properties.”

At that point, Ribeiro’s fledgling company still wasn’t generating much revenue. “I thought, ‘Man, I just can’t get a lot of loans done right now. I only have three or four employees.’ That’s how I got into the real estate industry.” Twelve years later and at the height of a global pandemic, Ribeiro is simultaneously running two thriving ventures —US Business Funding, and a portfolio of hundreds of rental properties he now owns.

At a time when fintech startups and other industry innovators are looking for investors, alternative lending execs like Ribeiro are instead choosing to put their money in real estate to beef up their investment portfolios. Although some execs shy away from talking publicly about their real estate dealings, citing the fact that they don’t want too much exposure, the consensus is that there’s a lot of money to be made in buying, selling and renting property – if you know what you’re doing.

peter ribeiro“I think real estate is lucrative because when you look at the history of investments, there are two or three ways to really make money: You can put your money in the stock market, or you can put it in bonds. And the other one guaranteed to go up in value is real estate,” Ribeiro says.

To Ribeiro, real estate offers a few major advantages: It’s a tangible asset. You can leverage it as it appreciates in value. Deductions make it so you pay very little in taxes. And it offers significant cash flow. “It’s the best investment you can make,” he says.

What makes real estate an especially good fit for alternative lending and fintech execs is that they possess the skills, resources and financial literacy to succeed at it.

best investment you can make

“Real estate is a long-term gain,” Ribeiro says. “The industry we’re in is a cash-flow cow. People who are doing well are printing money. But what can you do with that money? You can put it in the stock market, but you won’t control much. Then you pay capital gains on it.”

paul riandaAttorney Paul Rianda, who represents both cash advance clients and real estate investors, says it makes sense that real estate investing appeals to alternative lenders – especially amidst the uncertainty of COVID-19.

“If you’re a cash advance guy and COVID happened, then you’re not doing very well,” he says. “If you diversified your assets by doing real estate and cash advance, you’re able to weather these downturns a lot more easily than you would otherwise.”

Rianda has not yet counseled any of his own cash advance clients on real estate matters. But based on his insights from working with both areas, he says real estate would be a logical move for MCA executives, and he’s seen some of his clients in the bankcard industry buy up properties.

“One of my clients had a portfolio of merchants and sold it for a few million, then flipped over to real estate. So it’s a means (to an end),” Rianda says.

‘Snowball effect’

Ribeiro has relied on a simple strategy to steadily build his portfolio of residential properties: Buy. Fix. Leverage. Repeat.

“I feel like the portfolio is doubling every couple of years. It’s just a snowball effect,” he says.

After Ribeiro buys a home, he waits about six months before he has it appraised and fixes it up in the meantime.

“If you go to the bank within the first six months of purchasing it, they’re going to give you the actual market value of whatever you purchased the house for,” he says. “If you wait six months, they’ll reappraise the home and give its true market value, which could be another 40, 50 or 60 percent. And so now you’re going to have a lot more equity in the house, and you’re going to get a lot more money when you leverage that home to go buy the next one.”

Ribeiro says he sees lots of people making the mistake of buying a home, and then going to the bank a week or two later for a loan.

buy fix leverageConstantly maintaining a positive cash flow is Ribeiro’s number one rule of real estate investing. “Your best friend is depreciation,” he says.

Depreciation refers to one of the key tax benefits of real estate. Since owning a rental property is technically a type of business because it generates income, the property is considered a business asset. The IRS allows you to deduct the cost of acquiring that asset – the property – over the span of its useful life. For residential properties, the IRS sets a standard depreciation period of 27.5 years.

So if you buy a $100,000 property with a $20,000 land value, $80,000 of the asset is considered depreciable. Over the course of 27.5 years, you can take an annual deduction of just over $2,900 a year.

The trick, Ribeiro says, is to stick to lower-priced properties with an 80/20 home-to-land value. Most of his properties are single- and multifamily homes between southern California and Las Vegas.

Like Ribeiro, Rianda’s investor clients concentrate on one geographic area to find the best properties. “They look at the area for a long time, understand the area,” he says. “In my neighborhood, three blocks can make a 50 percent difference in the price of a house. You need to focus on a particular geographic area and do a lot of transactions in it.”

Small portfolio, big impact

Jared WeitzReal estate investing has provided a way for Jared Weitz to earn more money while being able to focus on his primary job as CEO of New York-based United Capital Source Inc., the company he founded.

“For me, it’s just a really good second income stream and a way to have a secure return of 4.5% to 6.5% a year,” he says.

Growing up, Weitz got a feel for real estate by watching his uncles invest in multifamily properties. At one point, Weitz’s uncle owned 15 different multifamily homes, and Weitz would help do the maintenance on them.

Eight years ago, Weitz invested in his first two-family home and has fixed and flipped eight properties since then. He currently owns two two-family homes and invests primarily in multifamily homes in Long Island, Brooklyn and Queens. Over the next five years, he plans to pick up at least two more four- or eight-family properties. Working with a small portfolio of residences in his home state has allowed Weitz to have full control over managing his properties and to turn a good profit.

“I think for me, it just offers more liquidity,” he says. “It’s an asset I can sell and liquidate at any time. That’s really important for me.”

Ideally, Weitz would like for his investment to build generational wealth that he can pass down to his son. With many people in the U.S. unable to qualify for mortgages, Weitz sees real estate investing as an opportunity to help the economy by giving renters a place to live and put down roots. “Depending on the neighborhood, you can put yourself in a situation where you have good renters for 20 to 30 years. They want to raise their families and have their kids grow up there,” he says.

Litigation among the pitfalls

Even though Ribeiro has had success with his business model, he cautions that there’s considerable risk involved with real estate.

“I love the industry. It’s a passion. It’s beyond my wildest dreams of the size of the portfolio and how well it performs,” he says. “But don’t think it’s all cupcakes and unicorns. There’s a lot to the madness. That’s why not everyone can replicate the model.”

landlord tenant law“Professional litigators” and multiple lawsuits from renters are a major downfall that Ribeiro points to. He sees at least one substantial suit each year and tries to settle outside of court whenever possible.

As an attorney, Rianda says his real estate clients call on him not just for the purchase of the property, but for various issues that occur during the ownership period.

Here’s one scenario: A property owner has a tenant who isn’t paying rent, so the property owner sues the tenant. But while the lawsuit proceedings are under way, the tenant declares bankruptcy, which puts a stall on further litigation.

“There are people who understand the system and can make it difficult for you to get them out (of the property),” Rianda says, adding that it’s important to have legal counsel readily available. “You need someone who has really done this a lot and knows how the system works to get that person out of the rental property as quickly as possible.”

To minimize liability, Ribeiro has divided his properties into about 10 different business entities – each with a separate umbrella insurance policy.

Rianda sees his own real estate investor clients follow this strategy by grouping multiple homes under the name of an LLC. “If you personally own all these various assets, there’s the potential that if something catastrophic happened at one, it could bleed into all your other properties and potentially put them at risk,” he says.

Dual careers

Ribeiro’s real estate investments and finance company both serve as full-time occupations for him. Some years, he’ll focus more on one area than on the other, depending on market conditions. He spent more time on real estate between 2008 and 2013; then his business needs flip-flopped when real estate prices started going back up. This past year, he’s directed more attention to the finance company because of COVID, which necessitated some operational changes and a need to help clients who had been trying to get PPP loans. But he’s also started investing in commercial real estate, which has taken a hit because of companies forgoing office space to save overhead costs while employees work remotely.

Ribeiro expects to start seeing more mortgage defaults on lower-level homes in 2021 and 2022, after forbearance periods are over. And he’s been leveraging his assets to start buying more properties around the second quarter of the new year. “I think it will be a good time to start buying heavy again,” he says.

An attractive investment vehicle

With the pandemic weakening business portfolios, secondary investment options might sound like just what the doctor ordered.

small business financing growthWhen COVID first hit, some of Rianda’s clients started pursuing other investments like personal protective equipment (PPE). Most of his cash advance clients closed up shop for a few months.

“As time goes on, I’m starting to see my clients go back into their lending,” Rianda says.

Even as clients start to recoup their business, Rianda sees the wisdom in other investments and says cash advance executives are well suited for real estate. “It’s just a way that people who have been successful and spin off a lot of cash for their businesses see as a safe way to diversify their income,” Rianda says. “It’s something I find that people who are doing well in their business do, regardless of what business they’re in. So cash advance guys are just following the things people have done for years.”

Ribeiro cautions that people who get into real estate should look at it as a 10-year investment minimum, and not just a two- or three-month stint.

“It’s not a lottery ticket, and it’s not an overnight race,” Ribeiro says. “This is a long-term gain. But it’s a very lucrative gain from a cash-flow perspective and a tax perspective. I don’t think there’s a more attractive vehicle than real estate.”



Found on DailyFunder:

11-13-2019

The Way of the Funding Pro...
jared weitz in the article., , , , its all about the customer experience., , , , what does that really mean?, , , , hubspots 2016 sales experience survey found these results when asking what can sales reps do to make their experience positive?, , , , 69% listens to my needs, , , , 61% is not pushy, , , , 61% provides relevant information, , , , 51% responds or gives information in a timely manner, , , , 49% provides a range of options even byond his/her business offering, , , , 45% cares about the success of my business project, , , , 37% details the ways s/he can help me succeed, , , , what have you found to be effective for being that trusted advisor to your clients?, , , , -fundingstrategist, , https://fundingstrat.com, , https://fundingstrat.com/the-way-of-the-funding-pro/...
05-02-2019

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jared weitz is not only the chairman of the small business finance council (sbfc), but has also been an active participant within nearly every industry tradeshow and event. he is a known and respected figure within the space, with a firm producing around $2...
05-02-2019

See Post...
jared weitz is not only the chairman of the small business finance council (sbfc), but has also been an active participant within nearly every industry tradeshow and event. he is a known and respected figure within the space, with a firm producing around $2...