In this episode, I had the pleasure of interviewing multi-family property investor Teghena (Tenny) Tolofari. Prior to establishing Xsite Capital Investment in 2019, Tenny spent several years leading a major sales force in one of the fastest-growing financial services companies in America. He is also a Global Cyber Security professional supporting the likes of Boeing and Deloitte. Tenny’s major role is building relationships with brokers, property management companies, and investors to ensure the success of their property investment business.
Tenny began by sharing the story of his humble beginnings as a child in Nigeria. He was initially very insecure about his abilities and did not do well in school. Because of the class system in Africa, Tenny realized the only way he could break out of the poverty of his youth was to immigrate to the United States. He made a bet with his mother in which she told him she would find the means to send him to graduate school in America if he could finish college with high honors. That motivated Tenny to get to work and accomplish this goal.
Upon arriving in the States, Tenny began his graduate degree in Management Information Systems at Virginia International University and then transferred to Bowie State University. After graduation, even though he had great jobs and was able to bring his family over to the U.S. from Nigeria, he continued to ask himself, “What’s next?” He then began to learn about finance and it opened up a whole new world to him.
Like so many other budding entrepreneurs, Tenny started self-educating by reading Rich Dad Poor Dad and Rich Dad’s Cashflow Quadrant by Robert Kiyosaki. He found that the financial service platform gave him the opportunity to start his own business and work with others with more experience. During this process, he met his partner, Leslie Awasom. After discovering they were reading many of the same financial freedom books, they began their working relationship by meeting at a brewery to play the Cashflow 101 Board Game. Because Leslie already had a real estate investing company, they decided to merge their business efforts in January of 2019.
Tenny talks about how both he and Leslie were very invested in educating themselves and went to many financial and real estate boot camp and mastermind events. They decided they were going to focus their real estate ventures in the multi-family market and bought their first property, a 192 unit apartment building in Marietta, Georgia. This year, they are looking to expand these efforts.
I asked Tenny how he feels when he hears people born in this country talk about how they don’t have the same opportunities as others and can’t afford to improve their situation. Tenny said it used to make him mad because he believes those are just excuses for not improving yourself, but then realized you can only be who you surround yourself with. We discussed how important it is to appreciate and use what you have and encircle yourself with good people. Tenny talked about the sacrifices he had to make, yet how driven he was to succeed.
Tenny then explained what syndication is because that is what he primarily deals with in his business. He explained the difference between the two business classifications that they have, 503B and 503C, as far as dealing with investors. He also detailed why they decided to go into multi-family real estate investing rather than other options. He gave several examples of the advantages of owning multi-family including spreading out expenses such as management companies and adjusting for vacancies. Tenny also detailed their philosophy for finding and funding deals.
We talked a lot about different ways to build relationships and how important this is in real estate investing. Tenny said one of the strategies that they have when trying to enter a new market is to talk to the pro