Creating an IMPACT
Gene Guarino’s solution for those facing housing insecurity
BY JOE DYTON PHOTOS BY: JAMES LLOYD
EIGHT YEARS AGO, Gene Guari- no contributed another example of the popular phrase necessity is the mother of invention . Guarino created RAL (Residen - tial Assisted Living) Academy when his own mother needed help. It all became very real for Guarino when one night his mother fell out of bed and cracked her rib trying to get back into it. Guarino and his family looked for care for their mother, but nothing they found felt like the right place. All they could find were “Big Box” facilities with nameless, face - less staff and hundreds of residents being warehoused. That’s when Guarino took matters into his own hands. “I vowed to create the solution; an actual home that I’d be proud to have my own mother in,” he said. Guarino’s epiphany came at an ideal time. It was about 10 years ago when the real estate market had dipped, opening a door for him to
purchase bigger properties at lower prices than usual. While others were fixing and flipping, Guarino was pur - chasing large houses to use as group homes for seniors. With those purchases, RAL Acad - emy was born. Guarino and his team take single-family homes and convert them into assisted living homes for seniors. Guarino initially did this pro- cess on his own, but began to show others how to do it, too. The compa- ny has expanded to where it has 30 team members who train thousands of people a year in person and online from all across the United States. “Our students have opened up homes all over the country, taking care of seniors and it’s been a won- derful journey,” Guarino said. The RAL Academy shows its stu - dents everything they need to know in order to start, own or operate their own residential assisted living homes. This includes showing the best loca- tions to do so, what type of real estate
to use and how to build a team so the investor does not have to actively work in the business. The RAL Acad - emy also teaches its students how to operate these homes successfully and profitably, and how to scale their business to multiple homes they call a “3 Pack” and beyond. Some of their students are now scaling their busi- nesses all across the country with an eye to selling them all as a package to hedge funds. Additionally, the RAL Academy shares multiple opportunities to get involved depending on how hands on or hands off an investor and entre- preneurial student wants to be. Peo- ple who prefer to just write a check can do so. They can invest in a syn- dication and receive 8 to 16 percent returns. Those who take the joint venture partner route will have some ownership or interest in the actual business. This investment method could yield returns between 10 and 20 percent, according to Guarino.
14 | think realty magazine :: september 2021
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