OUR HISTORY: IT’S ALL ABOUT CREATING OPPORTUNITIES
The 30-Minute Version
The Nutshell Version:
It Started in 1980… and then Restarted in 1989
I (Bill Syrios) started Stewardship Properties by buying and remodelling a home in Eugene, Oregon near the University of Oregon in 1989. This was no small feat for me at the time because in the early ‘80’s I tried my hand at real estate in Portland and failed miserably. If there was a mistake to be made, I made it… multiplied by the ’80’s recession! It was so bad I considered writing a book entitled, How NOT to Invest in Real Estate. But I’m glad I waited to write that book….
After moving to Eugene in 1986 my hiatus from real estate investment lasted for just three years. During that time I read books that gave me a new approach which included a more business-minded, team-orientation. So I got up the nerve to try again. Then, after the first purchase came another house, and another, then apartment buildings, with a focus on campus rental properties near the University of Oregon. Before I knew it, I accumulated a large portfolio of houses and apartment units.
My wife Teresa and I took a vacation and, as usual, I ended up reading business books and thinking about Stewardship’s future. I’ll spare you the details, but during my reading on this particular trip I was struck by the challenge Jim Collin gives in his book, Built To Last—to build an enduringly great company. Stewardship had just past the 15-year mark—we had created a strong property management, construction and maintenance staff—but I was still the only real estate investor in the company: me. What would it be like to get serious about passing on what I knew about the subject, and then grow strong partnerships? This paradigm shift led to the idea of providing a real estate internship experience for eager college students, especially business majors.
Our 2005 and 2006 Summer Internship Programs
During the summers of 2005 and 2006 a total of 16 students participated in an internship. These students, from the University of Oregon and Oregon State University, divided their time between classroom-type learning, exposure to real estate professionals, finding properties, negotiating with sellers, helping out with property management, and getting their hands dirty with our construction crews. This internship experience gave students real-world experience, groomed them as real estate investors and for me, it gave time to find the A-players.
If you want to see some of the things that happened over those two summers, CLICK HERE: Check out TV & Newspaper coverage of our 2005 Summer Real Estate Internship
2007—Two Partnerships Get Formed
The interns came first, than the “returns” (employees) and on January 1, 2007 we created two partnerships with independently run offices in Salem (and later Portland) and Eugene. In our growth we have sought to focus not only on on working IN the business of real estate investing but ON the business of successful real estate investing–developing critical systems that help insure profitability.
Unfortunately, as these partnerships began the market went into free fall. So, we primarily focused on buying and flipping foreclosure properties and even started a short sale company (The Short Sale Doctors) and a real estate brokerage (Open Road Real Estate). During this time we purchased, rehabbed and flipped nearly 200 houses… and in the process began relationships with many private lenders who have funded our deals.
But it is hard, if not impossible, to build an “enduringly great company” with a buy & flip model and, frankly, I was getting tired of flipping houses so I began looking around the country for a place to return to our “buy & hold” roots. This led us to Kansas City, MO where I opened up an office in January, 2011 with my sons, Andrew and Phillip.
In September, 2011 Greg Whiteley, and I reestablished an 18-year partnership to began investing in multifamily in Dallas. (Greg lives in Austin and does real estate investing full-time.)
In Dallas we own 76 units and in Kansas City we own over 230 houses/duplexes and 130 apts units. Our goal is to provide a foundation and model to partner with other investors to build large portfolios of properties, building long-term wealth in other cash flowing cities around the country.
333-RENT: Going Back to our Roots in more Ways than One
The reason for our extension to the Midwest is driven by one thing: THE NUMBERS. The rent-to-cost ratio in the Midwest far exceeds anything we can hope to get in our backyard (Oregon). So we extended our backyard… by 1800 miles! Beside going back to our buy & hold roots, our Midwest focus also brings us back to our family roots. I (Bill) and my wife (Teresa) grew up, went to college and got married in Kansas. So this venture gives our Oregon family a chance to reconnect with our Midwest family: parents, brothers, sisters.
Stewardship Capital: Getting Into Note Buying
In June of 2013 I partnered with Sandor Lau to start a business to buy notes. We buy non-performing mortgage notes for significant discounts and works with homeowners to get back on track with their loan payments. Because banks have done such a poor job at such workouts, we can step in to provide a realistic plan that gives the homeowners and ourselves, win/win solutions.
Stewardship Funding: Partnering with Flippers to become Holders
We are looking to partner with other real estate investors in “cash flow” cities similar to Kansas City. A typical partner would be a person who has had success at flipping a number of properties and even has some rentals but would like to see their real estate rental investment portfolio expand more quickly. They would have low expenses and enough liquid assets to a sustain a long-term, “buy and hold” strategy. We would help them with financing, property management and a variety of other key functions to build a success real estate company together.