July 25, 2022

Let’s Get Real about Real Estate with Alina Trigub

Let’s Get Real about Real Estate with Alina Trigub

In the 92nd episode of Cash Flow Pro, we talk with Alina Trigub, founder and managing partner at SAMO Financial LLC. Alina has an MBA in Finance and Management from Rutgers and a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accountancy from the City...

In the 92nd episode of Cash Flow Pro, we talk with Alina Trigub, founder and managing partner at SAMO Financial LLC. Alina has an MBA in Finance and Management from Rutgers and a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accountancy from the City University of New York. She has worked as a Tax Accountant at Ernst & Young, as well as in the private sector.


Alina is a big fan of spreading wealth by teaching others about the benefits of passive income. Her goal is to explore all avenues for improving client portfolios, demonstrating the benefits of different funds, and sharing tax advantages. Tune in to hear what she teaches us!



SAMO Financial helps its investors in building a legacy and making an impact on their communities. They work with all types of investors, no matter their experience in real estate. SAMO prides itself on its transparency and handpicked investments.



In this episode, we discuss:

  • Investing in real estate as a passive investor and active investor
  • Business partnerships
  • Assessing and questioning deals
  • Dealing with bad partnerships
  • Finding investors and cultivating relationships



Find your flow,

Casey Brown


Resources mentioned in this podcast:




Casey Brown  00:07
Hey there, and welcome to today's episode of cash flow Pro, your daily real estate investing podcast and YouTube channel. I am here today with Alina trigger from Sambo financial. And we are looking forward to a discussion today about all things, hopefully real estate investment or investing that she has that she knows and is willing to tell us and willing to share with us. So, Elena, how are you today?

Unknown Speaker  00:36
Casey, I'm doing great. I'm excited to be here. Thank you so much for inviting me.

Casey Brown  00:41
Well, we're certainly excited to have you. We're always glad to hear new stories and different stories of how people got to where they are today. So why don't you start out and just tell us a little bit about yourself. And let's go from there.

Unknown Speaker  00:53
Sounds good. My background is in tax accounting. So but before that I came here to the States almost three years ago with my mom, as a poor immigrant. And I was at the point deciding what do I want to do, and someone told me, Hey, you're good with numbers just go for accounting. I went, but that idea was not the right idea. But I got to try accounting, spent about five years in it on and off and private and public. Realize that wasn't for me, and was able to switch to the world of information technology where I had a pretty successful 20 plus year career, and was doing really well progressing in my journey in to higher levels. And while doing that, the tax accountant, Kid stayed in me and I kept thinking to myself, well, my husband's tax brackets keep growing, I have to do something about this, I need to find a way to minimize minimize our tax impacts and real estate kept coming up. And I finally decided that I had to take actions started real estate research looking into it. And after a number of iterations and trials and errors, I ended up investing in real estate syndications as an equity partner, this was about eight years ago. And after doing that for a few years, and talking to my surrounding my colleagues at work, I was still corporate employee at that time. And my friends, who were mostly Wall Street people, because of my background and my proximity to New York, I realized that most people have never heard of syndication. So I wanted to change that make an impact and help others follow my footsteps. So I started some financial with the goal of helping other people build passive income for their families, diversify out of Wall Street, essentially. So they can mitigate the impacts like we're having now with the stock market, and save on taxes. So that's how some of us started almost five years ago at this point, still rolling with it, educating people helping them to find passive real estate investments. And on top of a couple years ago, when COVID had my w two job got eliminated, I got the pink slip. I could not have been happier. It was the best day of my life. My only regret is that did not happen sooner.

Casey Brown  03:27
Yeah. A lot of people have that regret for sure. Yeah,

Unknown Speaker  03:31
yeah. But I'm very, very happy. It's been over two years, happiest years of my life. And also while in the journey. A friend of mine introduced me to Mike Slotnick. He is a real estate fund manager and has a number of funds. So Mike invited me to join them and help them to spearhead investor relations. So during that, in addition to several helping, TF management group to spearhead investor relations, so everything I do now is in real estate, whether it's investing for myself, my friends, my family, or helping others, it's all 100% real estate. And it's been amazing two years rather than the pandemic of course.

Casey Brown  04:15
Sure, sure. Well, so tell us a little bit I'd like to go. The first thing I'd like to know is is how many doors let's talk about Sambo individually and what you have like but like on your own or as a as a partner with you ever. How many doors do you all have under management? Or how many how many dollars in assets under management? Oh

Unknown Speaker  04:37
my goodness, Casey, it's been a while I haven't counted. So what I've done is I've dabbled into single family investments. I bought condos Of course. So that's been on and off. Then when I went into the commercial real estate, I started with multifamily, but then I saw the need to diversify. So invested into other commercial real estate classes from storage to mobile, home parks to industrial so it's all over the place in one honestly, I don't know how many but from syndication standpoint, it's definitely been over 20 at this point. So

Casey Brown  05:16
yeah, yeah. Well, and so, you know, tell us I'd like to always like to hear about people's their very first one because it seems like the first syndication is where everybody gets. That's like, what makes or breaks?

Unknown Speaker  05:30
Absolutely, absolutely. So

Casey Brown  05:31
tell us a little bit about your first one and where you raised the capital and so on.

Unknown Speaker  05:37
Yeah, first one was interesting experience. So I can tell you about the first one as a passive investor, and then I can tell about the person as an active investor. So my first one is a passive investor, which was almost eight years ago, that was a very, very interesting one, because taking that first step was nerve racking, I was doing a lot of research. So as a former tax accountant, I done like, different chats like background checks, criminal checks, and so forth on the operator, I went as far as to go to their social media profiles, checking out what they do in, in their personal life, professional life and so forth. And even that did not seem enough to move forward, even though I liked the deal. So they made a small mistake. And that mistake, actually benefited me. And then because that made me move forward with a deal. So essentially, this was, like I said, a long, long time ago, and they wanted to email all the investors and instead of BCC in their investors, or potential investors, they CC everyone. Well, that's what I did. I emailed every single person on the list, asking them about their experience with the operator, two people responded, the one of them is still a dear friend to me. And their response was positive, it was good all alone. So I decided to pull the trigger, essentially. So that mistake of the operator made me move forward to the deal. I invested in a few more with them. And I was really thrilled, because after that, came the snowball effect. And that's what I tell everyone that first step, regardless whether you're a GP, or LP, taking that first step is always the hardest because it almost immediately after that, I invested in the second, third, and so forth. And it was just a great, great journey. So this was my LPS perience happy to share the GP experience as well, if you want to

Casey Brown  07:38
Yeah, yeah, let's hear the GP experience. Because because the LP experiences can be gotten relatively easy. I mean, as far as like, you know, you everybody has their own their own due diligence items that they want to go check out or their own due diligence on the operator, their own due diligence on the asset. But as far as your GP experience goes, the element that that's so intriguing to I think a lot of people is the actual capital raise, again, and the property is so you know, we can talk a little bit about that, but the capital raise is really the biggie.

Unknown Speaker  08:14
Sure. So And absolutely, definitely agree with you. And what I will add, if, you know, since I've been doing both GP and LP for years now, I've created a list of questions for both questions to ask potential passive investors and questions to ask potential syndicator. So if anyone is interested, I can give you the links with those lists of questions for both. But in terms of my first GP deal, so it was a virtual introduction, a friend of mine, heard about this operator needing help. And we were introduced. The operator even went as far as flying to New York, he had potential investors here. So I met with him I met with his broker who brought him the deal. The deal was in a smaller, tertiary market, but the fundamentals were there, the job growth, the population growth, the infrastructure of the area, everything looks really good. And I actually was very, very happy that the operator flew down here. And we were able to meet in person. They did not have syndication experience. They had a construction experience and then some small single family homes experience, which I thought was enough, and I decided to go for it. What happened after we closed isn't another story and actually writing a use case on that with a ton of lessons learned of things not to do when you partner with other people because I learned a ton but it will was a very expensive experience because I had to hire a couple of legal groups, and have help of the legal counsels to help me deal with that operator and then eventually be able to take him out. And obviously, for privacy reasons, I'm not mentioning any names and location of the property. But I have a ton of lessons that, as I said, I'm putting together as to the things that you should not do when you're partnering with others on this.

Casey Brown  10:32
Yeah. And when you and a lot of people forget that I was actually, my wife and I were having a talk last night. And she's, you know, of course, wrapping her mind around everything as we as she learns the what these what these different terms and what all this stuff means, and so on and so forth. And she was asking about whether somebody was going to move forward with a partnership. And I said, you know, they're thinking about it, and she's like, what do they think about when you think about it? And I said, Well, that's a good question. I said, but but, you know, though, the people with experience, those of us with experience know, that and that's in any type of business business in general, the experience for myself anyway, is a partnership is like a marriage and what isn't, it's basically a business marriage. And, and, just like you said, you know, when you got into a partnership, and you decided, whoa, this isn't really what I signed up for, you're stuck, you're there, your money's there anyway. Now you can obviously say, Hey, you just call me when it's done. And but the issue with some of these things is, is the due diligence of the on the actual operator themself and, and that's what we learned. And that's what that's what pushed us toward the fund the funds model was, hey, we can we can dissect 50 different operators and choose the top two or three that we know have have taken beallsville cycle, and they're they're, they're, they're pretty efficient operators, and so on and so forth. And so, but it's a marriage, and that was the best way I could explain it to her was, was you know, sometimes these people, people, investors, potential investors, or, or even even the GP, has to think whether or not they want to be, quote, unquote, married to that person. And that's a lot of times, you know, during, during due diligence on from an investor standpoint, and investors doing due diligence on operator and asset, geography, whatever it is they're doing, you know, at the same time, a lot of people don't realize that that operator or the sponsor is really effectively doing almost the same due diligence back to make sure that, hey, we've got an alignment of interests here, we're not are in an alignment of beliefs and an alignment of whatever you want to call it. And, and this guy's not going to be a worrisome investor, because the worst type of investor you can have in your deal is somebody that then wants to put their money in, and then wants to micromanage micro control, I guess it's probably the better word because they're not going to get any management side of it, if they're on the LP side, but the they want micro control of little things. And it's almost like, Hey, if you want to micro control things, you should have been, you know, you should you should just take your money and go go buy a single family or go buy something, you know, and so, yeah, um, the lessons that you've learned, I mean, yeah, give us give us an example of maybe one or two lessons that you're going to share in your case study that you learned along the way,

Unknown Speaker  13:37
short cases. So, by the way, your words are absolutely golden. It's a marriage. And just like in any marriage, you need a prenup. And that prenup translates into operating agreement. So put as many clauses as possible into that agreement, as many what ifs essentially, what if someone dies or becomes incapacitated? Who makes the decision. And one of them most important lessons is just because someone is boots on the ground, found the deal, has more of a profit sharing ability does not automatically translate into them having more of the decision making authority, it does not have to be that way. It's all negotiable. So discuss it and make sure if there are multiple people multiple GPAs in the deal, then it at least, you know, half of the people or majority decide on any major decisions, obviously minor decisions you can leave to whoever is spearheading asset management, but all of the major decisions, if it's a major construction decisions, or if you have the fire or any legal challenges with the tenant and whatnot or anything else that has to be decided by majority partners in a deal, so that's absolutely critical. And then Essentially, trust but by verify, especially if this is your first partnership, if you're working with new partners for the first time, then always have, spend time with them ahead of time. Talk about their prior projects, even if the projects were not syndications, even there, if there were jayvees, or other things, discuss how they acted or reacted to certain cases and situations and see if that aligns with your interests. Discuss the long term goals and investments, say if there is a pool alignment there, if there is no alignment, step away, because in addition to you marrying this partner, you're also bringing investors to them, and it is your fiduciary duty to stay true to your investors and make sure that they do performs you do absolutely what ever is absolutely necessary to do that. And in my case, I essentially took over the asset management and was able to do it long distance. Yes, it took some time to dig out of the hole that our boots on the ground partner has bought us. But you do whatever it takes to make sure that you're performing on your fiduciary duties to your investors. And ideally, doing that due diligence ahead of time, learning more and getting to know each of your partners, what however many you have 235, whatever it is getting to know each and every one of them is essential.

Casey Brown  16:34
You know, I read a I read a blog yesterday, and just kind of my I call it like my information hour where I just kind of sit and go through and look at look at different not necessarily like like technicals chart studies and stuff. But just just reading and trying to stay up with, I guess, the times, if you will. And one thing that I read a guy that I respect, he's actually going to be on my show here in a few weeks. He said anytime there's only one, like, he doesn't invest in deals that only have one GP? And I guess the laundry list of reasons for that, of course, I guess the very top is is death of the GP, then Jethro has control and does the state have control. So So I guess that's kind of the first but then But then on down into the psychological reasons of, of, hey, you know, it's always better off to have like checks and balances. And it was it was a very interesting article. And I guess I just I bring that up, because I just read that and you're talking about the quantity of partners or GPS or whatever that you've got to deal with. And so anyway, it's It's rather interesting, the points that you bring up there, and that that you actually have have, are doing a case study on what not to do, or I guess, things to ask or things to pay attention to, or things to look out for whatever that whatever you're going to title that. But yeah,

Unknown Speaker  18:09
I want to be able to share my experience with other people so that they do not repeat the same mistakes I have, because that will save them, again, a lot of time, stress and a lot of money and legal fees that I had to spend.

Casey Brown  18:23
Sure. Now when if without, again, without giving you any names or any deal or anything like that. You had to push for the removal of one of the GPS or

Unknown Speaker  18:39
one of the GPS, yes, I had to move, push and the first legal team I hired were not successful. I thought that hiring someone local would be beneficial. Not not because, you know, no one else in that locality was good enough was just, I didn't have a good experience with that attorney. And then someone recommended me this group that they worked with where they had a similar case to mine, essentially, they had the bad relationship with a partner and so that the partner went the other way. And the legal team was able to help them. So when I hired this team, I saw a completely different approach. And with the time they were able to legally and officially help us to completely eliminate this person as a GP. They remained the LP Of course, they had a small position in the project. But they were removed from GP and from the decision making and from that point on, we started our journey on the way out essentially to bring the property back to the operational point where the p&l is positive rather than being negative and it took a while but not only we got out positive at the end of the day. But over time, we were able to sell return investors, their principal, and give them a little cherry on top of a tree by making a small gain. So

Casey Brown  20:10
that was a Yeah, that's always that's definitely always the end goal is to have the, the ultimate gain at the end. But so when we start looking at at piecing all of this stuff together and going forward, and I assume that that have you been in multiple deals with the same bunch now at this point?

Unknown Speaker  20:33
No, I have not worked with these people again.

Casey Brown  20:38
Okay. Okay. Even with that, even with the one GP removed or whatever.

Unknown Speaker  20:44
Yeah, I have not dealt with them again. With relationship. I didn't want to deal with them again. Of course, that's

Casey Brown  20:52
what you once you tackle or have to spearhead getting your money back. Or at least you know, at least getting I actually read something the other day, I know about everything I've been reading, but guy said ruthlessly What did he say? He said return of capital is more important than return on capital. Absolutely. And I thought, Man, that's, that's pretty, pretty thick stuff. Because it's really saying that, hey, you know, we need to, we need to give them their money back. And then if you don't make anything, then that's one thing. But if you at least get what you put in back. You know, you feel like you at least it was a small win, I guess maybe. So anyway, but so tell us a little bit about Sammo for SAML financial in the direction that it's going right now and what what what you all look for the future?

Unknown Speaker  21:48
Sure. So Simon has been very active in educating folks in becoming sophisticated passive real estate investors. I found that many people have challenges especially at the beginning, deciding how to invest what to invest, how to read, offering memorandums, how to understand that. So I've put together a coaching program where I coach people one on one, and I even am thinking about potentially doing a group coaching, sort of like a mastermind, helping people not only work with me one on one, but have the ability to share and work with other people and share their ideas, evaluate deals together. So that's something that I'm looking to do down the road. But at this point, I have quite a few happy customers and people that are also investing with us and have invested in a family of the temper funds, the group that I represent as the head of investor relations. And it all comes down to seeing people as they return customers customers. And not only doing that, but also referring not just their friends, but their family, their loved ones, I have many investors that are bringing their parents and siblings into the deals. And what can be a better recommendation that someone's saying, Oh, I brought my mom into the project or my younger brother come in with us. To me, that's gold. That's absolute gold that people are trusting us. They know that we are the trustworthy operator. They trust our experience, our integrity, honesty, and especially they want to stay with us and we want to have them as a happy customers for many years.

Casey Brown  23:41
Now, are you doing 506 B's or 506 C's?

Unknown Speaker  23:44
Majority is a 506. C is we just had 1506 B recently. And the main reason we did that because I insisted on opening up to people that were asking again for their family and friends and this was very rewarding experience because they brought in a lot of family members that couldn't do it otherwise, because they were not accredited investors but otherwise majority of the projects or five are successful

Casey Brown  24:13
now where are you? Where's your Where are you finding investors for your 506 C? I know a lot of folks have that's kind of their that's kind of the Achilles heel is being able to find accredited investors, what are you using?

Unknown Speaker  24:26
So it's been essentially a process slow steady process of establishing and building relationship of when I started out they didn't have many people so of course they started just like everyone else was family friends reached out to them, explain to them what I was doing. And slowly gradually started building that started building my thought leadership platform by writing articles being interviewed on the podcast like yours, Casey and presenting on various stages. I had a lot of people that Chow after I presented in Denver at raising money summit, but three years ago, and then other summits and other presentations are always bringing people reaching out. And then it's word of mouth. And then through the TF management group, the fund management company, we're actually trusted advisors in a mastermind group for dentists and physicians. And that helps to tap into that network of medical professionals for the deal through the TF Management Group.

Casey Brown  25:36
Course. Awesome. Awesome. That's great. So and that's the one that you're the head of investor relations. Yes. Awesome. What do you find as, as the what what are some of the biggest challenges of investor relations?

Unknown Speaker  25:52
Obviously, when you have happy clients, everything is hunky dory. But when we're going through a slowing economy, we are experiencing Wall Street turbulence. Or, just like yesterday, the Fed raising rates again, by 75, beeps, people start starting to worry. And it all comes down to being a, I guess, a psychologist of some sorts, and just helping people, not necessarily just saying, hey, come down, it's all good, but explaining them how our strategy is shifting and what we're doing as the operators or as the fund the fund managers to mitigate the risks for the project that we're bringing to them. Explaining to them that, number one, we're on the working with the operators that been through the recession that have the experience and track record number two, that you know, nothing will change our integrity. And then number three is saying that we are on top of the operators during the due diligence, we're doing our own due diligence, when we are evaluating any deal before deciding whether we want to move forward with that deal. So that those are, I would say, the three most important factors. Of course, there are many more in in another good example, as we've started asking operators, to do the stress test analysis and see, what would they need to do in their business. And there are many various real estate operations from multifamily value adds to commercial lending into hotels, to affordable housing, conversions and whatnot. And we are asking some of these operators to do the stress testing and to let us know, like at what point they would be able to still survive. And last, for example, were reviewing a multifamily project right now, and I can't for privacy reasons mentioned any details. But they, you know, when we asked the operator, the stress testing question, he said that they can be positive at the 40% occupancy that's, that's perfect. I mean, that's what we want to hear. If they can survive through the recession at the 40% occupancy point, then, you know, that's definitely a deal that we want to pursue reviewing, not necessarily going in just based on that one factor. But this is one of many critical factors that needs to be considered when evaluating any deal, or potential investment to potential work on.

Casey Brown  28:23
Yeah, we I mean, that's, that's all such such good information. And, I mean, so many valid points there and takeaways of what you just said, as far as like, you know, and the challenges and stuff. And then and then that gives a hopefully gives people out there that are maybe thinking about investing an idea of what they need to look for look at, you know, so Alright, well, listen, we're running up towards the end of our time, and we have a couple of questions that we ask every guest that comes on the show, there's no right or wrong answer. But the first question is, what is the best book that you have either recently read or are currently reading?

Unknown Speaker  29:00
Oh, boy, it was a good book, but I can't remember the name of it. So I'll have to give it to you. After the show. I see the cover. Like I said, the colors of the cover. I can't recall the name of a book of the name of the author. But one of my favorite books in general, it's not real estate book, but I really love it. It's an ancient book, written over 100 years ago is the richest man in Babylon. By George Claisen. I absolutely love and adore that book. I recommend that to every single person who wants to grow and build their business and just have a wealth and leave a legacy for themselves.

Casey Brown  29:36
Sure, sure. Well, good. All right. Now the next question is what is a dream vacation that you have either taken or hoped to take?

Unknown Speaker  29:45
I have never been to any exotic places and for me in exotic places where people speak the language that like it's completely different, like, you know, nonetheless, that I'm used to so and the culture that drastically different than what I'm used to here. And obviously, I'm an immigrant myself, but I came from former Soviet Union. But I've never been to Asia. So going to like Australia or Japan would be something that I would want to do down the road.

Casey Brown  30:17
Awesome. Yeah, I think Asia is is pretty high up on. Well, listen, Elena, thank you for coming on the show. We really appreciate the time. And how can the listeners if they heard something that resonated with them, or they'd like to maybe talk to you more about tea, your tea? Is it TF financial, right? Yeah. How can they reach out and get in touch with you?

Unknown Speaker  30:42
Sure. I'm on social media so they can find me through LinkedIn or Facebook, or they can find me through sample And my email is Alena at sample So that's pretty easy.

Casey Brown  30:54
Awesome. Awesome. Well, Anna, thank you so much for your time. And listeners. As always, please head down and hit the subscribe button if you like what you heard. And you look that you want to be notified when we come out with new episodes, which is daily. And also leave us a five star review and leave us your review so we know what you like, what you don't like and what we can do to help further your financial education and possible investing in real estate syndications and so on. So, I want to thank everybody for their time today and Alina, thank you again.

Unknown Speaker  31:27
Thank you, Casey.

Transcribed by

Alina TrigubProfile Photo

Alina Trigub

SAMO Financial :LLC