Throughout the span of his career, Sean Tissue has worn many hats. An entrepreneur at heart, Tissue recognized the transformative power of being able to make important decisions and embark on the path of entrepreneurship. Tissue harnessed his drive to enter real estate, an industry traditionally reserved for professionals with liquid capital, and dove into the field with just a goal in hand. He began by developing successful wholesale deals via far-reaching contracts that he then sold to willing investors.
Excelling in numerous entrepreneurial endeavors and driven by a spirit of commitment to excellence, Tissue has built a successful career in residential real estate. For Tissue, CEO of Centureon Investments, the road to success has been paved with hard work, determination, and many lessons learned.
Tissue eventually expanded Centureon Investments to include multi-family units and new construction, offering investment opportunities within the growing market of Detroit, MI and the Midwest and Southeast regions of the United States, with more expansion on the horizon.
How did you get started in the real estate business?
After high school, I knew I wanted to be in property, so I went directly into property. I started off by wholesaling but I didn’t have the money to buy, and I had to negotiate a really good deal on a property, get it under contract, and sell that contract to somebody who did have the money to buy it.
That’s how I built up my capital to start investing directly into property. It took me a year to buy my first property and from there, I bought two properties with my own money. I renovated them myself. I literally went in there and did most of the work, including placing a tenant, myself. I did the advertising, tenant placement, and management, but because of the timing – this was mid-2008, right as the recession was hitting – I wasn’t able to sell those houses.
I ended up holding onto those properties for four years before I was ready to sell them. But in that time, while I worked on houses and tried to sell them, I was able to find investor contacts and build a network. These people wanted me to put portfolios together for them and that’s exactly what I did.
What are some of the advantages and disadvantages of investing in real estate?
Real estate is one of the oldest wealth-generation tools in the world. You can’t beat brick and mortar. The stock market has been great for the past couple of years but I know people who lost six figures in one day in 2008. Would you rather have a steady, secure growth over the long-term or would you like the ups and downs of the stock market? For me, real estate is security. It has so many options. It’s the most secure asset class. With that being said, there are always drawbacks. You’re going to learn your lesson quickly if you make hasty decisions in real estate.
If you’re looking at stocks versus property, stocks are a regulated investment. You have financial advisors and wealth managers to give you solid advice. Real estate is so fragmented. In stocks, you have a very regulated industry, as far as what advice can and can’t be given. In property, there’s no well-rounded consortium of people you can tap into for property investment advice.
That’s the drawback to property: you’ve got to educate yourself. That, or you need a partner with experience. That’s what it comes down to.
What’s the most important lesson you learned early in your real estate career?
I always joke and say, “I went to the Harvard of real estate investing school.” I paid so much in the beginning of my career on mistakes that I could have paid for Harvard, and then some. It comes down to not doing enough due diligence on the properties I invested in. You have to do your due diligence.
That’s why Centureon’s platform provides such thorough due diligence, so our clients get more transparency when they’re buying a property. It includes photos, videos, inspections—the whole nine yards.
Of all the accomplishments you’ve had at this point in your career, what are you most proud of?
I’m most proud of the fact that I was able to start with no money in an industry that’s notorious for requiring lots of it to get started. We’ve gone from buying and selling individual properties to $100 million fundraising ventures with private equity funds. We even have an international office that sells investment properties. I’m proud to be self-made in an industry where that’s very difficult.
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