windows — one bathroom, a dorm-style fridge, a stove and a sink. He had a rotating cast of Craig- slist roommates who joined him. Because the apartment had no air conditioning and one room was windowless, Fairless worked out a system where he and his roommate would rotate rooms every six months so they could take turns getting a breeze. During one of his stints in the windowless room, Fairless said he got desper- ate and bought a window unit. He set it on top of a dresser and turned it on. He found cool relief … for about five minutes, before realizing hot exhaust was coming out the sides of the unit. “That was the end of that experiment,” he said. Meanwhile, his friends ribbed him for “liv- ing like a college kid.” His living situation, they thought, didn’t befit an advertising executive. Fairless, however, had a plan. Living with roommates for so long allowed him to start

T he coronavirus pandemic, which has disrupted lives and businesses worldwide, is a reminder after years of economic strength that risks are always lurking around the corner. The illness and the shelter-in-place orders put in place to stem its transmission brought the economy to a screeching halt and ushered in a bear market. That will leave its mark on the multifamily sector, predicted Joe Fairless, co-founder of Ashcroft Capital. “People who are needing to sell this summer are in big-time trouble,” he said. With stay-at-home restrictions this spring putting mil- lions out of work and jeopardizing timely rent payments, Fairless said P&L statements “are going to look terri - ble.” Though everyone will understand the circumstanc- es, he said, sellers will be at a disadvantage. “The worst place to be is needing to sell over the next eight months,” he said. “If you’re in a position to buy, there could be opportunities in summer and early fall to buy at good prices.” Ashcroft Capital “certainly would be buying in this en- vironment,” Fairless said, though the quick shifts in the market this spring scuttled a deal that no longer looked attractive. Fairless said he and his business partner had to exit a deal earlier this year that “just wasn’t the same as when we initially had it under contract.” The move resulted in a loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars for him and his partner. He explained the reasoning in an email to investors — many of whom thanked him for putting their interests first. “I would love to build trust in other ways besides losing hundreds of thousands of dollars, but it’s the long game,” he said. “There will be instances where you will lose money. Keep in mind the long game. Continue to take care of investors — without relationships in this business, we’re nothing.” • Pandemic Shifts Calculus in Multifamily Market

saving, especially as his salary increased with his promotions. In 2009, he made his first real estate investment: a $76,000 single-family house in Dun- canville, Texas, a southern suburb of Dallas. ‘SAMPLING LIFE EXPERIENCES’ Fairless followed that first investment proper - ty with others until he owned four single-family homes. It wasn’t long before he realized the mod- el wasn’t scalable: gains were wiped out by va- cancy costs when a renter moved out, and it took a while to save for a down payment for each new

24 | think realty magazine :: june 2020

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