Heartland Investment Partners - August 2019





WHY I STARTED MY INVESTMENT BUSINESS IN AMERICA’S HEARTLAND BORING IS BEST The Washington Post claims that only 27% of college graduates have jobs related to their majors, and I’m proud to put myself in the wandering majority. Though I was born in the small town of Algona, Iowa, I had glamorous dreams as a teenager. I wanted to become a criminologist, one of the guys you see on those FBI and CIA shows on TV. I thought it would be exciting and dramatic, but, after graduating college with my criminology degree, I ended up working as a guard at an Iowa prison — exciting, maybe, but certainly not glamorous. What was supposed to be my introduction to the criminology field turned out to be about as far from my thrilling, crime-solving dreams as could be. I did it for a while, then came to the conclusion that, unsurprisingly, pacing prison halls wasn’t what I wanted to do for the rest of my working life. I had always been interested in real estate, particularly the investment side. I was fascinated by apartment complexes, shopping malls, and other large projects, so that’s the ring I threw my hat into. It seemed like a choice that would check all the necessary boxes, giving me satisfaction with my work, a comfortable lifestyle for my family, and a steady income. So, in 1991, I quit my job at the prison and took a post as an apartment sales broker. At the time, specializing in apartments seemed like the perfect way to set myself apart from the crowd. I had no idea I’d staked out the field I’d build a life on. Almost 30 years later, I’m still selling apartments, and I couldn’t be happier. I’ve been my own boss at Heartland Investment Companies for more than a decade, and I’ve built a solid reputation through stellar service. I’m also known for investing in Iowa real estate right alongside my clients and partners, proving I’m never afraid to have skin in the game. Over the years, a lot of people have asked me, “Why Iowa?” Well, the answer isn’t what you might expect. Most investors would probably cite our state’s country charm and friendly people, but I’m not one to beat around the bush. I think that what makes Iowa a unique opportunity for investors is its reputation as a “boring” place. People don’t realize that boring is profitable.

paced. That means in Iowa, you don’t see the economic, political, and social upswings that impact the rest of the country, nor do you have to deal with the downswings. Investing in Iowa real estate is predictable. Thanks to the conservative nature of the marketplace, we’re insulated from a lot of volatility. Even the Great Recession of 2008 hardly hit us. And, when it comes to buying up property, investing in a safe, predictable place just makes sense. I love guiding investors to the Heartland haven I call home. My company takes pride in providing all our clients with Iowa hospitality, and we offer packages to suit the needs of everyone, from the most active and involved landlords to the most passive ones, many of whom hail from out of state. We’re happy to give advice to first-time landlords on the ins and outs of running a


complex, but we can also provide full administrative support if needed, seeing to day-to- day operations, sending in reports and profit-and- loss statements, and even filing tax returns.

If you’re considering investing in the “boring” real estate that’s really America’s best-kept secret, give Heartland Investment Companies a call today. We’d be happy to do the heavy lifting and ensure you reap Iowa’s rewards. –Darin Garman

Stepping into Iowa is like turning back the clock to a simpler time. The lifestyle, the economy, and the way of life here are all very even-keeled and slow-

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WHAT YOU CAN DO TO PROTECT YOURSELF FROM PHONE SCAMS AND ROBOCALLS call-blocking apps available on Android and Apple devices, but if you subscribe to a blocking service through your phone provider, these apps are unnecessary. Finally, you can sign up for the Federal Trade Commission’s “Do Not Call” program (DoNotCall.gov). While the Do Not Call program can help cut back on calls, this list is largely ignored by scammers. If you’re getting a ridiculous number of robocalls every day, signing up can offer you some brief respite. Thankfully, Congress is already attempting to fix this problem by making it harder for scammers to call you. But until they are able to pass tough, effective legislation, it is up to us as consumers to remain vigilant and do what we can to keep our personal and financial data safe and secure.

Two of the most common scams are phone scams and robocalls. These calls are incredibly annoying and can trick you out of valuable information if you’re not careful. While it might seem like these scams are inescapable, there are some precautions you can take to avoid their traps. GIVE THEM THE SILENT TREATMENT. One thing you can do to avoid these fraudulent, time-wasting calls is to simply hang up. If possible, it is best to not answer at all. It’s always good to have a list of numbers you can reference, so you never have to guess who is calling. Think of it as going one step beyond caller ID. In some cases, answering and then hanging up can actually do more harm than good. Answering the phone gives the scammers confirmation that the number works and that they should try again. Once your number is confirmed as active, it often gets put on an “active number” list that can then be sold to other scammers who market in these types of phone numbers. If you can’t verify who is calling without picking up, don’t answer. Let it go to voicemail. If it’s important, the person will leave a legitimate message and you can respond afterward. PUT UP SOME DETERRENTS. You can even go a step further and block the calls. Many phone service providers offer call-blocking options, including AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon. You can sign up for this service in-store or on your service provider’s website. Each service costs about $4 per month. There are also a number of



It’s always a great day at the Heartland office when we snap up a new property, and just a few weeks ago we snagged a great one for our investors: the 128-unit Wildwood Apartments complex. Located on Old Marion Road, northeast of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, this well-appointed complex is filled with fully occupied one-, two-, and three- bedroom units. The location is desirable for renters because it’s situated right next to the Elmcrest Country Club Golf Course. Heartland’s strength is finding properties that we can turn a profit on, and this one is no exception. Leads on properties like Wildwood often come from what we call “behind-the-scenes” work and networking with property owners. Because of our tenacity, many of those owners end up calling us when it’s time to sell. They know that if they work with Heartland, their property will be sold quickly and at a profit.

We were the first to step in and make an offer on the Wildwood complex, which was fortunate because other offers kept rolling in after ours was accepted. We acted quickly because the property appraised for much more than the purchase price and Darin was confident it would sell above the appraisal if put back on the market. It seemed like a perfect opportunity to offer our investors, and they responded so enthusiastically that we were soon oversubscribed. Even though we ended up obtaining financing, we could have easily purchased the property with cash. Darin will continue to manage and oversee the operations at Wildwood, giving the partnership that purchased it peace of mind as their investment grows. If you’d like to join our Priority List of investors so you can be among the first to learn about these opportunities in the future, contact Darin at darin.garman@gmail.com today.


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There’s an easy litmus test to find out if a state is proud of its agricultural heritage: Take


to Google and see if the state has its own historic barn foundation. Iowa, which has been home to the Iowa Barn Foundation (IBF) since 1997, would pass with flying colors. All it takes to understand the need for the IBF is a drive through the Iowa countryside. Barns abound, and, in minutes, you can parse the modern, aluminum-sided ones from the historic, wood and stone variety. The latter are often draped in vines, painted cheerful colors, or expertly crafted in unusual shapes. They’re oases in the midst of corn fields, and a single look at one is enough to make you want to protect it from harm. The IBF provides protection for Iowa’s beloved agricultural structures through grants, which run from a few hundred dollars up to $30,000 per barn. Some of those barns are hundreds of years old, making them curiosity pieces for historians and aesthetes alike. So, years ago, the IBF began hosting free barn tours to give these outbuildings an opportunity to shine. The largest event is the annual All-State Tour, which features close to 100 barns beautifully restored with IBF funds. Friends, families, and couples from Iowa and beyond mark the date on their calendars months in advance and strategize about how to reach the most barns, checking the IBF website (IowaBarnFoundation.org) for photos of the year’s contenders. The smaller Spring Barn Tour takes place in June, featuring barns with unique architecture in just a few neighboring counties. Those barns generally haven’t been restored by the IBF, so their condition varies. Both tours attract locals, historians, tourists, and photographers, who spend days browsing haylofts and stalls. Some farm owners even take the opportunity to display antique tools and family photos to the public or cater to the crowds with homemade sweets. This year’s 19th annual All-State Tour will take place Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 28–29. As one Star Tribute writer put it, between yearnings for the simple country life, “So many barns. So little time.”




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HEARTLAND INVESTMENT COMPANIES Darin Garman Apartment Specialists 1350 Boyson Road A-1 Hiawatha, IA 52233 www.daringarman.com 319-350-5378



Page 1 Boring Is Best Page 2 How to Best Protect Yourself From Scam Calls Investors Go Wild for Wildwood Page 3 Barn Tours: A Very Iowa Tradition Sales and Success Page 4 Can You Trust Your Security System?

5 STRATEGIES TO PROTECT YOUR BUILDING SECURITY BREACH! According to the FBI, a burglary occurs every 20 seconds. We tend to focus on protecting our homes from invasion, but in 2016, over 460,000 nonresidential buildings were burglarized. And after one successful break-in, your building is more likely to be targeted again. Here are a few crucial strategies to improve the security of your building. SMILE FOR THE CAMERA. Let’s start with the basics: If you don’t already have CCTV surveillance, install a system right away. Position these cameras in common areas with good lighting, and make sure they’re visible. The sight of security cameras may deter criminals frommaking your building a target. Some property managers try to cut corners by using fake cameras to scare off criminals, but this can backfire in the event of a break-in. Use real cameras and service them regularly so you can review the tapes whenever you need to. DON’T NEGLECT YOUR LANDSCAPING. Never let overgrowth overtake your property. Criminals view unkempt trees, bushes, and grass as a sign that you’ve been neglecting your property. This implies you may be neglecting other areas, too — your security system, for example. LET THERE BE LIGHT. Unless you have Batman patrolling your city streets at night, nighttime is when criminals are most likely to strike. Install motion detector floodlights in prime areas around your building, including entrances, exits, gates, garages, in your landscaping, and near ground-level windows. A sudden burst of light can scare off would-be intruders and potentially alert anyone nearby of trouble.

INVEST IN PARKING SECURITY. The Bureau of Justice Statistics reports that 11% of property crimes and more than 7% of violent attacks occur in parking facilities. If your building has a parking facility, make sure this area has ample security. DETERMINE WHO’S IN CHARGE. When reviewing building security, it’s important to determine who is responsible for keeping security up to date. Should the building owner or property manager maintain security, or does it fall to the tenants? Answer this question and make sure the person responsible is following all agreed-upon security protocols. There’s no one-size-fits-all strategy for security. Depending on the nature of a business or building, you will have specific security needs. You should periodically assess potential risks, make sure your building’s needs are met, and make repairs as needed.


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