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LESSONS LEARNED: DENNIS CISTERNA BREAKS DOWN ONE OF HIS EARLIEST (AND TOUGHEST) REAL ESTATE INVESTMENTS " There are some disasters that are unavoidable, but
others are not," said Dennis Cisterna bluntly. “In fact, one of the biggest disasters I ever encountered in real estate was a personal error that I really should have avoided entirely. “Early in my investing career, a few other investors and I bought a property in Memphis, Tennessee. At the time, we didn’t know anything about Memphis other than we could buy houses very cheap. This property had all the essentials for very high returns, but we missed some signs that it was very risky. “Specifically, my investment was in one of the most dangerous parts of Memphis. There was a lot of crime in that area. While we were trying to renovate that property, it was burglarized nearly every night. Say we started roofing the house and putting in appliances. Not just the appliances, but even the roofing supplies and framing would be gone the next morning! If any of us had been local, on-the-ground investors in Memphis, we would have known better than to buy that property, or we would have known to factor in the cost of the security company into the costs of the rehab. “I tell every investor, big and small: Don’t try to do everything yourself unless that property is right next door to you. Take advantage of all the top- flight service providers who can help you make good decisions and protect your investment. In a nutshell, don’t try to do all the heavy lifting yourself, especially if you cannot physically touch your investment or you have no prior experience in that sector.”
there are areas of the city where we see investors finding huge success. Detroit is adding jobs, and it has neighborhoods that are highly successful.” Cisterna added Detroit is not alone. “There are a lot of historically great urban centers like Detroit finding new ways to reinvent themselves all the time. There is a tremendous amount of opportunity in those markets, but you must really go in, do your due diligence, and align yourself with service providers who can fulfill your needs. Otherwise, you could end up hanging in the wind,” he said. “The important thing is to identify which real estate market fits your investment goals. Opportunity in real estate doesn’t have a border.” • Cisterna's early investing experiences contributed to his dedication to working with educated, multifaceted teams in every aspect of investing.
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Atlanta, Georgia, for example, you will face investors of every size,” Cisterna noted. “But if you go to Birmingham, Alabama; parts of South and North Carolina, Cleveland, Ohio; or Buffalo, New York, then you will likely have less
exposure to that competitive set.” He also mentioned Detroit, Michigan, as a market to watch in 2018. “A lot of people avoid Detroit because it has sunk so far from its zenith from an economic and financial perspective. However,
Carole VanSickle Ellis is the editor of Think Realty Magazine. She can be reached at email@example.com.
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