Harvey Levin founded HARVEY Property Management Group LLC in 2012 but his career in Indianapolis real estate began long before founding the group.
How did you get started in real estate investment?
“When I was in high school, I read that more millionaires are created in real estate than in any other type of investment. The idea of owning property and finding someone else to make the payments while the property appreciated in value appealed to me. I bought my first piece of property in spite of my dad’s objections when I was 18 years old. Two years later, I purchased two more properties and started managing properties for other investment partners. I bought out one of those partners four years later and still own that property. In the 1980’s I owned a construction business which gave me my start in flipping properties.”
What obstacles have you had to overcome in the real estate investment business?
“When I first started, I had very little money. So I sought out people that had the money for the principal but did not want to do the work of maintaining and fixing up the properties. Eventually word about my reputation for finding and managing good real estate investments began to spread and my business began to grow.
Secondly I went through a learning curve about how to select good properties and good tenants. In the beginning I had bad properties and tenants who did not care about the properties. I had tenants who barely lasted a year. Eventually I learned what made properties valuable to tenants and what materials to put in a property to make the property durable. Now my average tenants last 3-5 years. I even have one tenant who has been with us since 1988!”
How do you know a good investment?
“We take a conservative approach and base all investments on cash flow returns rather than appreciation. When we analyze a property, we look at the structure, mechanicals, size, layout, location, etc. Even if the property looks good, we know which markets we may have trouble leasing in. Plus since we are experts in renovation, we can take a property in a good location and know what types of renovations can be done at a reasonable cost and positive return.”
How long should someone invest in real estate property?
“We analyze all investments over a 5-year period based on cash flow. The market is too speculative to analyze beyond 5 years. However at the end of 3 years, we evaluate the investment to see if the investor would like to continue or if we should start putting together an exit strategy.”