Q&A: Ryan Dell, Acquisitions Analyst @ Pioneer Communities

Q&A Session with Ryan Dell –PC’s First Winter Analyst Intern

Q1: Hey Ryan, it’s great to have you here today! As the first-ever intern at Pioneer Communities, we think it would be a great exercise to ask you some questions about yourself to learn a little bit more about you, and what drew you to joining the team. Before we go any further, would you like to share a little bit about yourself?

A1: Sounds great! To kick-off the question, I am currently a junior at Villanova University studying finance, accounting and real estate. I know it sounds obnoxious to explain it out loud but having a triple major between these 3 interrelated studies has really helped me to be a well-rounded thinker and to develop an understanding of the quantitative sides of many businesses and industries. The ability to study multiple disciplines was the main draw of coming to Villanova. The university encourage students to expand past one – or even two – areas of studies to develop a holistic skillset that will be applicable to our careers once we leave school.

I was first drawn to real estate as a teenager. I always loved math and science in school and was skilled quantitatively, so I knew I was interested in pursuing a career within Corporate America. As I learned about different ways of investing, I found it potentially lucrative, interesting and fascinating to theoretically own a portfolio of real estate and have others (i.e. lessees, renters, occupants, etc.) pay for your mortgage & loan to help build personal wealth and equity simultaneously. I knew it was an exciting industry and learned the power of investing early on.

Q2: That sounds great, man! You hit the nail on the head at an early age – there is certainly a wide variety of ways to make a career within the real estate industry. Do you have any idea as to what path you are looking to pursue after graduating from Villanova?

A2: As of now, I am still very open to where my career will take me. I am trying to keep as many doors open as possible and am not trying to pretend to know everything about the industry. However, from my previous experiences, internships, and classes, I believe a career within Acquisitions and Private Equity to be the most interesting – which is one of the main reasons I was so excited to join Pioneer Communities.

I believe there is so much to be learned by conducting market, property and acquisition research that can be applied in so many different manners. As I learned to financial model individual properties and Real Estate Investment Trusts in my past experiences, I discovered how much of the Real Estate industry is truly an art rather than a science.

I loved the subjectivity of making decisions based on my assumptions, and to add a personal view and set of expectations on a property and market. Two analysts looking at an identical property can value it in two completely different ways, which promotes discussion, collaboration and teamwork.

Then you simply hope that your guesses and expectations are right!

Q3: Let’s hope that your assumptions do end up being true! You bring up a lot of good points about the industry and I agree with a bunch of your rationale behind entering the Acquisition space within the Real Estate Industry. You talk a lot about financial modeling and different properties — other than manufactured homes, do you have an asset class in particular that you find especially interesting?

A3: That’s a very good question. I think that is super tough to answer right now given the current state of the market. Given the nature of our economy over the past 10-15 years, there is an exorbitant amount of capital entering the industry. Because of this, the asset class has become incredibly expensive, and is trading for astronomical valuations.

As I previously spoke about my teenage interest within the space, I found the multi-family property type to be the easiest to understand given my limited knowledge on the industry, so I am biased towards that. However, I believe that given the nature of consumer E-commerce spending and last mile shipping, the industrial asset class has probably become the one with the greatest amount of potential. However, I recognize that these properties are trading for cap rates close to those of US Treasury Bills, which makes purchasing them a tough pill to swallow.

I also believe that the student-housing space has some super interesting fundamentals as well. Even though there has been a recent pushback of universities charging enormous sticker prices for students to attend their schools, there is still a very steady demand for seats at a top 100 university in the United States. Coupling this with the idea that students are able to theoretically take out loans to pay for their leases while they in school (and therefore pay off the owner’s mortgage for them) adds a high demand for fairly priced student housing. Students have relatively low expectations for their living conditions and are typically not versed or experienced in leasing their own spaces, so landlord responsibilities are at a minimum.

By offering a steady and reliable product to a high-demand population offers a lot of upside that I believe would be recognized in other asset classes.

Q4: Very interesting perspective, all 3 of those property types are interesting in their own ways and offers investors a high-level of diversity of their capital. To wrap up this interview, where do you see yourself 10-15 years down the road? Any goals or aspirations you have?

A4: Without trying to steal Pioneer’s thunder, I would absolutely love to start a Private Equity firm similar to you have and to manage a portfolio of property. Entering my studies at Villanova, I never knew that these types of career paths existed. I always planned to acquire my own portfolio of property on the side but was oblivious to the fact that people did this type of work for their full time job.

I absolutely would love to start a fund of my own. Although I do not have the resources, contacts or skillset to do so now, it is fun to reminisce about the future. I understand that starting your own business and firm takes an enormous amount of work, but the end result can be incredibly rewarding and fulfilling. I believe the level of purpose, credibility and achievement is difficult to achieve in many other ways – the thrilling nature of starting a firm is thrilling!

Pioneer Communities: We couldn’t agree more, Ryan! That is all the time we have for this today, thank you for taking the time to share a little bit about yourself. We are thrilled to have you join the Pioneer Communities team and are looking forward to seeing what your future holds!