Very few people begin dabbling with apartment building purchases in their 30s and 40s. Even fewer make their first multi-family purchase in their early 20s. I will introduce you today to a local real estate broker who has done just that. He doesn’t even have 30 candles on his birthday cake yet.

Multi-family is a term meaning several dwelling units in the same building. It could be a duplex, fourplex or an entire apartment building. Rising rental rates since 2012 have made multi-family investment property in the Valley a popular and profitable venture.

My guest for the 17th episode of The Arizona Report today is Bob Collopy. In 2018, Bob ranked #6 out of 33,000 real estate agents in the Phoenix metro for the number of transactions closed (239 sides). He’s a 28-year old broker/owner of Fort Lowell Realty and Property Management. The firm has offices in Phoenix and Tucson with over 1,000 rentals under management.

In middle school, Bob cut his teeth on the real estate business by ripping out carpets between tenant move-outs for the family real estate business. Right before graduating from Arizona State University, he knew that multi-family real estate was his niche. Now he’s representing buyers here in the Valley backed by private equity firms and limited partnerships that are funded by Blackstone, Merrill Lynch and Goldman Sachs.

Around the age of 23, Bob secured his first investment property in Phoenix for $172,000. However, he had to go out an find the money because he didn’t have a down payment. The property was a package deal. There were 3 duplexes and 1 single-family house in the portfolio. The dilapidated 7-unit multi-family property was in an area of the city where rundown properties are the rule, not the exception. The prior owner hadn’t even visited the property in over a year according to the tenants.

In the interview, Bob describes what he did after college to secure the $50,000 down payment necessary for purchasing the multi-family building investment. He then sold the property for a enviable profit after an enormous amount of elbow grease. There were some interesting turns, including a triple bug bombing.

Among his strongest advice tips for young multi-family investors? Build your team first, find a mentor, go slowly, wear many hats and guard your reputation. Watch out for polybutylene piping, too.

Here is the 22-minute interview:

Investing in Multi-Family Real Estate in Your 20s #17


Bob Collopy holds a private pilot certificate and is also a published fiction author.

This episode was recorded in my Scottsdale studio on October 1, 2019.

People lived in the same apartments for years. You’d meet a group of kids in kindergarten, and you’d still be with them in high school. No one ever left the neighborhood. – Fran Drescher, American actress