An Interview with Steven Taylor



Though residential real estate may not change quite as dramatically as runway fashions, it nonetheless has cycles and can quickly transform based upon sudden market variations. Navigating these unstable conditions takes knowledge, attention to detail, and not a little intrepidity.

Steven Taylor Landlord

Numerous factors, from overall economic health to population spatial patterns and demographics to available property characteristics, make for a complex mix that any would-be developers must be willing to handle. The rewards can be significant, both personally and financially. However, failures can be equally dramatic.

Some nonetheless plunge into this uncertain environment, like real estate developers and landlords, working to flip as well as refurbish properties for profit. Not all succeed, but those who do find much wealth in this industry. There is no one road that leads to a successful career as a real estate developer and property owner and landlord. Some industry experience or related knowledge is common, but if property development is your passion, this field is open to those willing to work hard and take chances.

Steven Taylor is one of those who has found great success in this volatile field. A successful and experienced property investor and landlord in the Southern California market, Mr. Taylor has been named as one of the region’s “30 under 30” real estate moguls. He has handled more than $500 million in property transactions and is a Principal at NEME Capitol. He also is the founder of Taylor Equities, a family company that purchases multi-dwelling structures such as apartment buildings.

He knows the real estate industry inside and out and stays current on up-to-the-minute conditions and changes. Such work can be all-consuming, but Mr. Taylor has found a way to keep his real estate work growing even as he concentrates on more personal matters and passions closer to home.

We wanted to learn even more about Steven Taylor so we were able to ask him a few questions recently. Please see the great responses below:

What was it that inspired you to become a landlord?

The concept of passive income has always been attractive to me. My goal has been and continues to be to create a sufficient passive income on a monthly basis that will support me and my family. Also, one of the benefits of being a Landlord is that you to develop and reposition assets in emerging markets which is always fun.

You have been redeveloping apartments for a long time, how has your business model changed over the years?

Yes, you need to evolve with the market and demands of your residents, but the fundamentals remain the same. Focus on location, appreciation and deprecation.

What do you find to be the most rewarding portions of your career?

Achieving Stabilization. Once a property hits stabilization, meaning that the business plan has worked and the property is performing and its generating positive returns, there is a great sense of accomplishment.

On the other hand, what has been the most challenging project of your career?

The bureaucratic and red tape of the city permitting and approval processes can be very challenging. The inconsistencies between building inspectors and field inspectors can be frustrating and exasperating. I have personally been in several situations where I obtain a permit from the city but then the field inspector wants something entirely different which can put a project on hold until resolved.  

In your expert opinion, what do you find works best when it comes to keeping an income property turning a profit?

Managing the revenue side. In my opinion, on the expense side, there are a fairly large number of fixed operational expenses which sort of handle themselves, and the variable expenses can be managed with a good budget and a good team. However, the revenue can be tricky because you constantly need to assess your competition, but if high-occupancy is constantly maintained, the property should turn a profit. 

What processes do you have in place that allow you to ensure a redevelopment is running efficiently?

Like most business, real estate ownership and management is all about having the right people in place. We have several systems in place to have real-time intel on property performances, so as weekly and monthly OPEX budgets, weekly and monthly vacancy details, snapshots of expense to income ratios of each property and so on.

I am sure some projects can become stressful quickly, how do you maintain your composure under pressure?

I love what I do. I am constantly thinking about how to improve my business and how to grow my business, but even more so, I believe in work life balance. I think that if you can manage to have balance in your life, then situations that can become stressful quickly can be compartmentalized and handled appropriately.   

When you first inspect a property you are interested in, what are your main point of focus?

Typically, location is a top priority in conjunction with some basic metrics like cost per unit and cost per foot. Then I’ll assess the unit conditions and the conditions of the systems of the building so that I can accurate assess the costs associated with modernizing the building.

When it comes to advertising a property, what do you find to be the most effective method?

We use all the traditional advertising channels, such as online media marketing, banners, signs and flyers. Having a well thought out and easy to use leasing website is key.

As the real estate industry changes, what resources allow you to stay up-to-date on trends?

I live and breathe real estate and feel like I have my finger on the pulse, but I read all the local trades on a daily basis as well as national publications like the WSJ.

Millions of people, both women and men, seek a successful equilibrium of their work and home lives. Mr. Taylor seems to have found that balance, one that lets him achieve business goals of creating a steady passive income to support himself and his family as well as meet personal aims of working at something he loves and challenging himself daily. Finding such stable poise is not easy in any industry, but certainly in one as potentially risky as property development and ownership.

No single real estate deal is like any other. Each is unique and brings individual challenges. Even veteran developers must continue to learn and grow if they do not want to get left behind. Professionals such as Mr. Taylor must stay current on every aspect of property acquisition and development, from the cost of modernizing older structures to patterns of urban growth.

Once properties are found, funded, and in hand, developers must focus on planning and acquire all needed permissions, licenses, and permits to move forward with renovation and construction. Entrepreneurs dealing with real estate cannot overlook important details if they want projects to move forward in a timely way. Every day that schedules are not met means money out of the developer’s pocket.

As complicated as this industry sounds, there are particular ways that professionals handle real estate transactions. The bottom line is that successful landlords and property developers such as Mr. Taylor know the industry basics, quickly learn everything they need for each deal, and take care of all aspects to ensure each project is carried out on schedule. Perhaps the most important thing winning real estate developers with flourishing businesses do is carry over the knowledge they gain from each project into successive ventures. They build on top of the firm foundation they already have to create a new, solid enterprise that will last.