Dr. Kenyon Meadows is a radiation oncologist from Youngstown, Ohio. He completed his residency in 2006 at the University of Florida and has been practicing medicine at the Southeast Georgia Cancer Care Center since 2008.
In addition to saving lives, Dr. Meadows is a published author and successful real estate investor, with an interest in residential properties in Jacksonville, Fla. Since 2013, he’s invested in approximately 35 deals on RealtyeVest, formally IHT Realty Crowdfunding, and similar crowdfunding platforms.
We recently sat down with Dr. Meadows to discuss his new book, “Alternative Financial Medicine: High Yield Investing in a Low Yield World” and his thoughts on real estate investing and the crowdfunding industry as a whole.
Q – How did you get started in real estate investing?
Dr. Meadows: I got “prepared” after enduring some stock market pain. Like everyone, I got hit pretty hard with the financial crash of 2008. But, after rebalancing into what I thought was a stable sector — oil and gas — I took another big decline. Soon after, I began to try to learn in earnest about alternative assets, such as real estate. Those efforts paid off after I met an investor who provided private money to a rehabber that was flipping about 15 houses per year in the Jacksonville market. After learning about the attractive yields and relatively passive nature of private mortgage lending, I took the plunge.
Q – Why do you primarily invest in the single-family market?
Dr. Meadows: While there are certainly advantages of scale when it comes to investing in commercial real estate properties, such as multifamily, there are a few factors that make single-family homes a more attractive investment. For instance, single-family homes attract small, working class families, who tend to rent for long stretches and hence minimizes what is often the largest expense associated with income property ownership: vacancy.
Also, in contrast to apartment tenants, they tend to feel more of a sense of “ownership” toward the property and therefore take better care of it on average. Both of these factors help to contribute to more stability, which translates into a more passive ownership experience for me. And should I ever chose to exit my portfolio, I like the option of having both an investor and retail buyer pool to potentially sell to.
Q – What initially peaked your interest in crowdfunding?
Dr. Meadows: Right around the time following my first few successful projects, some of the crowdfunding sites were coming online. This was really appealing to me because it allowed me to invest small amounts of money into real estate projects, which was more of what I was already doing. and I only invest in first-position debt. Also, the opportunity to invest in properties across the country that otherwise would be out of reach was an intriguing concept. However, I probably would have been more afraid had I not had the prior experience with private lending.
Dr. Meadows explains his method in this short video
Q – What are the best practices for a crowdfunding company?
Dr. Meadows: I love repeat sponsors with a track record of paying investors back. I am willing to sacrifice a little lower return for the chance to participate in their deals, but I only invest in first-position debt. I also like platforms that prefund the deals they list, which serves to align their incentives with the investors. Additionally, prompt communication in the event that there are any hiccups along the way is greatly appreciated. Out of the 35 or so crowdfunding deals I have done, only three are in some stage of the foreclosure process. Some sites have been better than others with respect to updates, but they all seem to be optimistic that there will be full principal recovery. That’s another reason why I only invest in first-position debt.
Q – What red flags about an investment offer have you encountered?
Dr. Meadows: If I see a deal with outsized returns my caution flag goes up. For instance, in the earlier stages of real estate crowdfunding, you could routinely see debt deals in the 14-15% range. As the space has matured and more investors are comfortable with the asset class, returns have compressed to the 9-11% range.
Q – Tell me about your most successful real estate crowdfunding deal.
Dr. Meadows: It was a unique hybrid fix and flip deal in Los Angeles that had both first position debt, as well as a percentage of the profits from the sale. The loan was at 11% and the profit percentage was capped at an additional 8%. So, 19% when it was all said and done! That was back in 2015 and I haven’t come across anything that attractive since.
Q – Do you have any advice for sponsors/developers on how to stand out in the crowdfunding industry?
Dr. Meadows: Most crowdfunding sites lead with the deal terms and numbers – I would like to see more emphasis on the sponsors track record featured more prominently.
Q- Lastly, why did you choose to write this book?
Dr. Meadows: I got tired of explaining all of the benefits of alternative assets on a one-on-one basis to people, and I figured I could reach more people with a book. In my opinion, real estate is the best, but there are certainly other investment opportunities that are appealing as well.