Ellie Perlman was working as a commercial real estate lawyer with a prestigious law firm in Tel Aviv when she decided it was time to quit her job and pursue a life-long dream. Rather than representing investors and facilitating their transactions, she wanted to be those clients. “I wanted to be those investors who find deals, and I wanted to own real estate,” she says.
That desire took root in her childhood. She grew up poor, the oldest of four children who cleaned synagogues to earn money to help support her family. “I realized at a very young age that I had to do something to get out of that situation,” she says. “I saw that in Israel the most successful and richest people were real estate investors.”
Perlman felt strongly that the road out of poverty started with education, so she studied to become a lawyer, while also learning as much as she could about real estate. When she quit her high-paying law firm job, she worked as a property manager for a former client who owned 130 gas stations. “I was overseeing over $100 million work of real estate,” she says. She was learning, but still a long way from owning real estate.
To further her education, she moved to the U.S., enrolled in MIT, earned an MBA, and learned “how to build a company and attract capital. I was involved in a few startups and raised money from investors, and I took that experience and went back into real estate and started a syndication business.”
“It gives me a tremendous value because I have many investors that reached out to me because they happened to see one of my articles on Forbes.”
A trusted mentor helped Perlman learn about the real estate syndication model — a method of real estate investing that involves a sponsor who scouts out, acquires and manages properties; raises additional funds from investors who mitigate risk; and distributes to those investors a share of rental income and profits when the property is sold. When she started her company, Blue Lake Capital, Perlman says she assembled a very strong team of lawyers and property managers and spent years going to events and networking to get facetime with potential investors. And when she did her first deal, she partnered with someone who was very experienced so that she could establish credibility and a solid reputation.
Blue Lake Capital is only two and a half years old, but the company has already acquired five multi-family properties in Texas, Florida, and Georgia. The company has hundreds of individual passive investors, each of whom commits a minimum of $50,000. Perlman says her company’s portfolio is worth $92 million and that it manages more than 2,000 apartment units.
“When I moved to the States five years ago, besides my husband and his immediate family, I didn’t know anybody,” says Perlman. “All of my investors are people that I met through social media and through events.” She has a podcast called REady2Scale that she says “really helps me expose my brand to investors who’ve never heard of me.”
In addition to marketing her company through her own blog, social media accounts, and podcast, Perlman says that the content she has contributed through Forbes Real Estate Council over the past year has been extremely valuable. It creates more visibility for her and establishes her as an expert in her field. “It gives me a tremendous value because I have many investors that reached out to me because they happened to see one of my articles on Forbes,” she says. “It really has helped me position and accelerate my brand and helps me extend my reach to people I would not normally have access to.”
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