Great ideas and relationships come in very different ways. For Omer Reiner, he found his calling as a real estate investor through yoga. It was at a yoga center that Reiner met his future business parent, Gabriel, and soon thereafter, the duo started working together as property investors.
In 2012, Reiner founded Florida Cash Home Buyers inc., a business dedicated to buying homes for cash. Compared to other unscrupulous individuals in the cash for homes arena, Reiner has helped build a strong reputation for his company based on trust.
Since launching the company, Reiner has seen tremendous growth in property investment. Now, after eight years as a business, Florida Cash Home Buyers continues to purchase homes all over the state, expanding their portfolio. Even with the COVID-19 pandemic hitting Florida, Reiner has helped the company weather the storm and the future looks bright.
Omer, Florida Cash Home Buyers is an incredibly interesting group due to the way in which the business came about. According to the company’s website, Florida Cash Home Buyers started at a yoga retreat. Can you tell us how the company started and the role yoga played in its creation?
I formed Florida Cash Home Buyers Inc. in 2012 while I was living at Yogi Hari’s Ashram in Miramar, FL. An Ashram is a spiritual community where people can live and practice yoga and meditation under the guidance of a spiritual teacher (Guru). I lived there for six years, and towards the end of my stay in 2012, I met my current business partner, Gabriel. He came to the Ashram for a yoga class that I was supposed to teach. The class ended up getting canceled and we both got into an interesting discussion about real estate after I handed him my business card. It was funny because we were both into yoga and both just starting out on our real estate investing journey. We connected very quickly and started doing some deals together, until we decided to formally partner up in 2014 and started our partnership company – FL Cash Home Buyers, LLC.
The company began in 2014 and has since closed over 800 transactions. What were the company’s early days like and what were some of the issues you had to overcome in those days?
When we started the company both me and my partner used to handle everything. From marketing, to answering calls, to going on appointments with sellers, managing construction and then selling the houses. One of the issues that we were facing was that we knew we wanted to grow the business, but being so busy with the day to day grunt work, we had no time to think about how to scale it up. So one of the first things we started to work on was to hire people to replace us in the daily activities of the business so we have more free time to work “on” the business vs. “in” the business. Finding good people to join our team was also a challenge and it took us time to refine our hiring process to get it to the point that it’s at today.
Florida Cash Home Buyers began just after the Global Recession. Was it difficult to begin the company at that time or did it make it easier to acquire properties?
I started buying properties in late 2011. Because of the global recession there were a lot of people in foreclosure and facing various difficult financial situations. At the same time, the prices of properties were starting to go up. So it was relatively easy for me to find people that needed my services for buying their houses fast, and thanks to the market going up, I was able to be profitable on properties that I bought and fixed up with little experience. If the market would have not gone up at that time period, I would have lost money on quite a few properties that I bought and wasn’t experienced enough to handle the project.
The company has a goal to donate $500,000 to charity by 2030. A portion of all profits go to charity. What inspired you to donate so much money to charity? Why is it important to give back and are there specific charities you are donating to?
Both me and my partner are very passionate about donating to charity both personally and through the business. We feel blessed that we have the means to be charitable and really see it as a duty and nothing too special. We wanted to set a long term goal (referred to as “BHAG” – Big Hairy Audacious Goal) to inspire ourselves and our team, and we found that having a big charity goal to work towards really inspired us all the most.
It’s important for us to give back because we feel that we have enough and are fortunate to experience relatively good lives. There are people in this world that are facing so much hardships, and we feel that instead of hoarding more and more money and buying more material things which we don’t really need, we would be much more fulfilled if we know that our money is making someone else’s life easier and better.
There is a list of the charities that we support on our website, which includes SOS Children’s Villages, Feeding South Florida, The LENN Foundation and several others. We’re always looking for more organizations to support and our team members usually take part in deciding which charities we will donate to at the end of each quarter.
What are some of the challenges of owning a cash for homes business? Are there a lot of individuals seeking to sell homes for cash?
One of the main challenges of owning this type of business is that it has a bad reputation. People naturally think it’s a scam. And I can’t blame them. There are some crooked individuals out there that do some unethical things under the disguise of “cash for houses” business. So when people come across our business, many of them are skeptical that we’re a scam, that we can’t be real and that we’ll just try to take advantage of them. So one of our challenges is to build trust with people and credibility, so that they know we are a legitimate business and are not out there trying to steal people’s homes and take advantage of people’s hardships.
Yes, there are quite a lot of people who are looking to sell their homes for cash. People are tired of the traditional way of selling their home with an agent with all the uncertainties and a longer timeframe to sell, so they look for alternatives. For some people, we are a good fit, but to others we recommend listing with a realtor as that is a better option for them.
Why do people choose to sell their homes for cash to Florida Cash Home Buyers?
Most people that choose to sell their homes for cash to us prefer to sell their homes quickly and not have to deal with doing repairs on their homes. We also offer more certainty versus selling on their own or with an agent. When they sell to us, they know they have a buyer they can count on to perform, and we’re very upfront with them about our buying process.
Prior to opening Florida Cash Home Buyers with partner Gabriel Garcia, you obtained your realtor’s license. What drew you to the real estate sector?
I was introduced to real estate by my spiritual teacher while living in his Ashram. He had owned about 60 rental properties in the past and that gave him the financial freedom he wanted so that he could focus on his yoga practice and teaching, while supporting his family.
At that time, I knew I wanted to start a family, but I didn’t want to depend on teaching yoga for a living because I felt that I did not want to turn my hobby into a business. So witnessing first hand the freedom that my teacher experienced through real estate, gave me the motivation to start my own real estate career. I got my license in 2011 because I felt that having a real estate license will come in handy as a real estate investor. And it truly does.
What areas of Florida does the company specialize in? Are you more interested in major cities or small towns? Which is the easiest to buy and then resell a house in?
We generally buy in all areas of Florida. However, we don’t buy in rural areas because it is much more challenging to sell those properties after. We typically focus on mid-large cities or towns because there is a bigger buyer’s pool and it makes it easier and faster for us to sell our properties.
How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected the business this year?
COVID-19 hit us pretty hard in the second quarter of 2020. We lost quite a lot of money, had to let go of three employees and temporarily reduced everyone’s salaries by 30% (including us owners). Luckily, things picked up in the third quarter and we were able to bring back two of the employees and reinstate everyone’s normal pay.
We’ve transitioned to buying more over the phone these days due to the pandemic and social distancing. Our experience has been positive with this approach as most of our sellers prefer the ease, convenience, and safety of phone appointments versus. in-person ones during these hectic times.
What is the real estate market like in Florida currently and how can individuals benefit by doing businesses with Florida Cash Home Buyers?
Currently, the Florida real estate market is pretty hot. Interest rates are very low so there are lots of people buying now, and our remodeled houses are selling fast for full price. Our investors have picked up buying investment properties as well since the retail market is doing so well.
There are different types of folks that can benefit from doing business with us. From homeowners looking for a quick and easy sale of their home to people with some extra funds sitting in their bank or retirement accounts that they’d like to invest for a good and secure return. Since we come across so many good investment opportunities, we’re always looking for private lenders to do business with.
Omer, is there anything else you would like to us about?
Our company’s mission is to help people experience happiness and freedom while improving the world through ethical business. We’re truly in this business to help, and are trying to make a positive and meaningful impact in the world. We’re always happy to offer advice to anyone, even if they are not looking to sell their homes. Sometimes our team spends over an hour on the phone with people, listening to their hardships and truly trying to offer some guidance even if they know they are not going to do business with us. We always remind our employees that their first and foremost goal should be to add value to anyone who reaches out to us. And I feel that we’re doing a pretty good job with this!
For more information on Omer Reiner and Florida Cash Home Buyers, please visit https://www.floridacashhomebuyers.com/