Given Rusty Tweed’s status as a third-generation financial services professional, it is tempting to assume that there was never any question about the career path the native of Ontario, Canada, would eventually pursue. Although he always admired the way his father and grandfather dutifully served their clients throughout the entirety of their respective careers, Rusty envisioned a different path when he enrolled at the University of Waterloo, where he studied mechanical engineering.
Despite his academic background in mechanical engineering, Rusty made the decision to follow in the professional footsteps of his forebears when he relocated to Southern California and founded Tweed Financial Services in the early 1990s. In the nearly 25 years since that time, Rusty has developed a reputation as one of the industry’s most insightful and innovative professionals while serving as president of Tweed Financial Services.
Never one to limit his professional efforts, Rusty also founded diverse enterprises that include TFS Properties, Inc., Mold Zero, and Tweed Economics. As president and CEO of TFS Properties, Rusty has leveraged his quarter-century of professional experience to identify and broker off-market real estate properties featuring cap rates and cash flow well above the national average. Focusing on income-oriented investment properties that also provide the opportunity for an array of tax benefits, Rusty is responsible for placing more than $200 million in investments for his clients.
During his accomplished professional career, Rusty has earned frequent praise for his willingness to share his insight and expertise by hosting seminars, publishing articles, and providing quotes for features in publications like Bloomberg Financial News and the Los Angeles Times. Rusty, who continues to publish articles of his own through the digital publication he founded, has also lobbied before Congress and was named by the National Association of Financial and Estate Planners as the Estate Planner of the Year.
1. What do you know about the real estate industry?
My clients have benefited from my detailed understanding of the real estate industry, particularly from my ability to identify and broker off-market properties. Obviously, my role as president and CEO of TFS Properties has long demanded an in-depth knowledge of all aspects of the real estate industry.
2. Have you ever sold real estate? How did you make it happen?
Yes, my company — TFS Properties, Inc. — specializes in off-market properties, especially those featuring cap rates and cash flows that rate as above average on a national scale.
3. How much experience do you have in buying or selling real estate?
I bought my first investment property when I was only 22. Since then I have either bought, sold, brokered or invested in hundreds of properties over the past 36 years.
4. Have you ever made a sell or a purchase you have regretted?
I’ve certainly bought and sold properties that didn’t deliver the best possible outcome, but I never buy or sell a property without first calculating the best- and worst-case scenarios. If I accept the risks associated with the worst-case scenario, then there is no reason to regret the decision. It’s always best to focus on the process when evaluating any decision, especially investment decisions. I have learned though, that one can’t accurately predict the markets. Having been through several economic downturns over the years and having experienced totally unexpected incidents occur, I have gotten more conservative.
5. What advice would you give inexperienced who are wanting to buy or sell?
Find a mentor and take the time to learn as much as you can about the industry before making a sizable investment. Like anything take baby steps, get to know the ins and outs of investing in property and make sure you have reserves, rarely does something turn out as planned.
6. What have you found out to be the best way to market property?
I like that digital and social media marketing strategies make it so easy to target a particular demographic with such specificity. There’s a lot of interesting and exciting opportunities opening up in the internet space, but still I find the best and most reliable response is through the large database I’ve built up over the past 25 years. I have well over 12,000 investors that I’ve accumulated from seminars, talks, tradeshows, referrals, etc. that I can market to. This proprietary list of quality people is a gold mine that we work with continually.
7. What tools do you believe are essential for success in the real estate industry?
Along with the ability to analyze the various and rapidly changing economic market indicators, I believe it is of the utmost importance to stay current on all the different issues capable of influencing not just the housing market, but multi-family, commercial and industrial properties.
8. What has real estate taught you about life?
It has reminded me that there are no shortcuts to success and that there is no limit to the benefit of the knowledge acquired through firsthand experience. You have to get your hands dirty and dig in to really understand anything. Being an observer on the sidelines is great for watching sports, but to really get something out of anything you have to participate.
9. How can you use what you have learned in real estate to succeed in other areas?
The willingness to engage in patient, thoughtful research and analysis is valuable across all industries.
10. Do you have a mentor who taught you what you know?
My father and grandfather were both financial services professionals who taught me a great deal about investing, including investing in real estate.
11. Do you have a feedback system? How does it work?
I’ve created several channels for client feedback, but there is nothing that compares to the feedback one receives through an honest, face-to-face conversation.