The FORT Podcast: Keith Wasserman

In Episode 17, Chris chats with Keith Wasserman, Founder and CEO of Gelt Inc, one of the fastest growing real estate companies in the country. Gelt focuses on purchasing multi family communities, storage facilities and RV parks. You can connect with Keith by email or on Twitter.

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1:15 – How was Gelt started?
9:50 – Investing in The Person vs. The Project
11:23 – Why multifamily and mobile home parks as a business model?
15:23 – How do you think about the future of renting and ownership?
17:20 – Tech and Living in the Future
23:20 – Other Asset Classes for Gelt
31:15 – How do you go about entering new markets?
34:00 – Building Relationships 
36:54 – YPO Global Real Estate Fair
38:00 – Process of Finding Investors/Securing Deals
45:50 – How has your job changed as Gelt has grown?
50:38 – Where will Gelt be at the “end”?
53:05 – Keith’s Thoughts on Growth
54:14 – Gelt’s Mission, Charity, and The Future of Eduction
1:02:25 – Advice for Success


Keith Wasserman founded Gelt, Inc. in 2008 during the height of the recession and financial meltdown. Keith has been involved in the acquisition of several commercial, industrial, and residential properties mainly in the Western US now totaling over $1.5 billion in assets.  As co-founder of Happy Home Communities in 2017, Keith added the manufactured home venue to the growing list of entrepreneurial ventures he’s involved in. He oversees the company’s operations, marketing, investor relations, acquisitions, leasing, development, and disposition services. Keith graduated in 2007 from the University of Southern California from the Marshall School of Business. Keith leads Gelt’s charitable giving program and recently teamed up with Damian Langere to form The Resident Relief Foundation, a 501(c)(3) public non-profit whose focus is on helping renters avoid eviction upon an unexpected financial emergency. Keith is also a member of YPO (Young President’s Organization).

Episode Summary

Wasserman, as the co-founder of Gelt Inc., brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the table, providing listeners with invaluable insights into the intricacies of real estate, investment strategies, and the dynamics of the market.

Wasserman shares his journey in the real estate industry, detailing the inception of Gelt Inc. and the company’s progression over the years. He delves into their initial foray into multifamily housing, highlighting the strategic approach to acquiring undervalued properties and enhancing their value through meticulous management and targeted renovations. This value-add strategy, as Wasserman elucidates, has been a pivotal aspect of their success, allowing them to navigate the market effectively and generate substantial returns on their investments.

The conversation then shifts to the impact of economic fluctuations on the real estate market, with Wasserman providing a comprehensive analysis of the recession’s aftermath. He points out the significant increase in renter households, attributing it to both financial necessity and a generational shift in the perception of homeownership. This paradigm shift, as Wasserman notes, has resulted in a supply and demand imbalance in the multi-family housing sector, driving continuous rent growth and presenting lucrative opportunities for investors.

Wasserman goes on to discuss Gelt Inc.’s strategic focus on workforce housing, a niche market catering to the middle-income demographic. He emphasizes the importance of this sector, underscoring its resilience in economic downturns and its vital role in providing affordable housing options. The company’s approach, as Wasserman explains, involves acquiring older properties from the 70s, 80s, and 90s, implementing improvements, and enhancing management practices to elevate the living standards and justify rent increases.

As the conversation progresses, Wasserman touches upon the company’s ventures into RV parks and mobile home parks, shedding light on the misconceptions surrounding these asset classes. He differentiates between the two, highlighting the unique characteristics and investment potential of each. Wasserman’s insights provide a nuanced understanding of these niche markets, showcasing their viability as investment options and their role in diversifying a real estate portfolio.

Wasserman also addresses the often-overlooked aspect of liquidity in real estate investments. He articulates the benefits of the illiquid nature of real estate, contrasting it with the volatile and impulsive tendencies prevalent in the stock market. Wasserman shares personal experiences to underscore the stability and long-term perspective required in real estate, advocating for a disciplined and patient approach to investing.

Throughout the podcast, Wasserman’s expertise shines through, as he navigates various topics with ease, providing listeners with a comprehensive overview of the real estate landscape. His emphasis on strategic investing, the importance of understanding market dynamics, and the value of patience culminates in a wealth of knowledge for both novice and experienced investors alike.

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