Moisés Agami of Valor Capital on Five Things You Need To Know To Succeed In The Real Estate Industry

An Interview With Jason Hartman

Jason Hartman
Authority Magazine

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We all need to focus on this: Be willing to advance into the future, let go of old habits and patterns, and create newer, better, and more advanced building systems. Keep going, keep expanding, and keep enhancing the value you bring to people’s lives. That’s the name of the game.

As a part of my series about the ‘Five Things You Need To Know To Succeed In The Real Estate Industry’, I had the pleasure of interviewing Moisés Agami.

Moisés Agami’s success as an entrepreneur began at an early age. At age 25, he took his first company public. Since then, he’s created many global businesses built on cutting-edge technology. One of these, Road-Track, is a vehicle tracking platform utilized to prevent crimes against individuals and provide security for vehicle recovery in more than one million cars. He serves on the board of Ituran, an advanced GPS tracking service for vehicles globally. The high-tech, high-quality requirements of supplying the largest car makers in the world during global crises have given him the unique perspective and ability to confront and overcome different challenges.

Since 2010, he started real estate development in the United States. Agami’s development company, Valor Capital, was formed by a team of entrepreneurs who have a four-decade history of real estate developments in office, hospitality, medical, commercial and luxury residential product offerings, with a multi-billion-dollar portfolio and tens of millions of square feet already developed and sold. One area in particular where Valor Capital has truly revolutionized the industry is in the use of its proprietary “wellness-based” engineering. As real estate developers incorporate the changes brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, Valor Capital is capitalizing on the demand for more safety by innovating new, cutting-edge building design features that are created to maximize their buyers’ well-being.

Agami’s interest lies in developing real estate “gems” in areas that are not on the monetizing radar of every real estate mogul, yet are rich in beauty, culture, infrastructure, and broad appeal. This gives him an edge in the industry. He is passionate about creating world-class real estate experiences with a current local focus on Tampa Bay, Florida, and sees development potential in Clearwater as a “blank slate.” His response to those who question his choice over LA, Miami, Boston or New York is to emphasize how Valor Capital’s strength is to be ahead of the curve. And Tampa Bay and Clearwater are diamonds in the rough, boasting the number one beach in the US, incredible tax benefits, and a sophisticated yet serene lifestyle. He has facilitated several high-profile luxury projects in Clearwater, with his sights set on the rest of the Gulf Coast, North Carolina and Texas, where he can lead the way for other developers and entrepreneurs.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the “backstory” about what brought you to the Real Estate industry?

I remember having a passion for real estate since I was a little kid. From 5 to 13, my favorite game was Monopoly, and I would play for hours on end. I would invent all kinds of games — play until we bankrupted the bank; keep inventing more and more expensive types of hotels; I would even gift other players money just to keep them in the game and continue playing. I could play all weekend long and go without sleep. So as soon as I found the opportunity to start buying and developing real estate, I knew I’d found my way to one of my true passions in life.

Can you share with our readers the most interesting story in your career so far? Can you share the lesson or takeaway from that story?

The first investment I made in real estate on my own showed me just how noble and strong real estate can be. I was in my twenties and was invited by my cousins to purchase units in pre-construction in a condominium they were developing. It was very early in the process, and I could buy units for 200K, pay the money month-to-month based on their 18-month construction schedule, and sell them at about 300K. I decided to purchase three units. There were several risks involved. The first was the development risk that the construction could fail, another was that the market wouldn’t buy the product at the prices we estimated, and yet another was that I didn’t really have the money to purchase the three units. I couldn’t really do much about the first two, but I trusted my cousins.

As to why I decided to purchase three units even though I didn’t have the money, well, my thought process was that I had about half the money I needed, and there were three buildings, each with its own timeline, so that I would get one unit in each building. In building A, I would buy the best PH unit, sell it off as quickly as possible, and with that money, I would fund the units in buildings B and C. As time went on, I had to keep paying, first with the A unit, then the B, and I found myself making enough money to continue payments without selling. So, I thought I’d hold off and wait as long as I could before selling. The more finished the units became, the better price I could get. I kept going and soon found myself paying for all three units in cash and taking title to all three. The amazing part is that I still own them — all these years later, I still have them and continue to make money on the rents from those units.

I had several takeaways from this. First, I learned the importance of forcing myself to make more money and to invest it. I had to pay every month — I had no choice. As soon as my necessity level was high enough, I simply found a way to make the money and make the payments. The value of forced savings came to light. If I hadn’t made that investment, I would not have accumulated the 600K. I probably would have spent it on a new car, trips, or other things. Instead, after a few years, that 600K investment was now worth 900K! Finally, there is the value of the rents I’ve received and the appreciation in value of those units. I rarely think of them or invest any time in them, yet they continue to exist and continue to create value for me. This isn’t some sort of extraordinary condominium in some extraordinary area. Rather, it is a good condo in a good area and has continued to hold and increase its value over many years. It is a solid investment I can count on.

Do you have a favorite “life-lesson quote”?

[MA] I have many quotes from very smart people that I use in my day-to-day life, from business leaders to poets and philosophers and even from my own children. One of my favorites is from a visionary who once said, “it takes a fire of life within to set life on fire!”

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

Absolutely! We are working on several new projects in which we bring tremendous technological innovations and know-how from around the world to bring more value to our residents’ daily lives.

We are finalizing Serena by the Sea, our luxury waterfront residences in Clearwater/Dunedin, Florida. https://serenabythesea.com/ All residences are designed with open layouts, oversized terraces, and glass balconies that offer spectacular views of the waterfront and its surroundings. There are more than 23,000 square feet of world-class amenities, and we’re adding an abundance of landscaping to the project that we’re calling the “Serena Jungle.” We are also launching the Serena Residences, which will be adjoining Serena by the Sea and will share in its relaxed luxury lifestyle.

What do you think makes your company stand out?

Our focus is to bring value to the people who live, work, and play in our developments. We create world-class real estate developments that are a continuous source of value to our clients, owners, investors, and the community. We build the neighborhoods of tomorrow with exquisite architecture, luxurious interior finishes and technological advances for health and wellness. Valor Capital is built on long-term commitments to artistry, sustainability, and creating exceptional living spaces. We combine functionality and aesthetic excellence to design luxurious homes where residents can live their best lives.

Every community we build will have a ‘How to Stay Well’ protocol in effect at all times, meaning we will always put health first and foremost; we even have an emergency protocol ready to be put in place in case of a health crisis. For instance, every living space at Serena by the Sea includes amenities and features to ensure residents benefit from these protocols:

All common areas are equipped with polarized media electronic air filters, an enormous improvement on flat filters.

UV-disinfecting lights that kill an average of 99.9% of germs in all common areas HVAC units.

All doors have touchless entry systems.

EPA-approved, pet-friendly cleaning products are to be used on every surface (which have also been proven to kill 99% of tested viruses).

Pools and jetted spas have the state-of-the-art water filtration systems to keep water always pristine.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person you are grateful to who helped get you to where you are?

This is definitely a team activity. I wouldn’t be able to do any of this without the extraordinary team of men and women that push this company along day in and day out. They work tirelessly to create the best development company in the country. In particular, I can say that my partner, Marcos Salame, is my mentor and guide in the journey of creating the lifestyle of tomorrow. Marcos has an unmistakable ability to think big and push the limits of creation, as well as a strong purpose to bring aesthetics and value to those around him.

What do you find exciting about the Real Estate industry?

The real estate industry is undergoing a transformation and may soon hit a disruption. We are implementing technological disruptors that will eventually result in the buildings and developments we see in Science Fiction movies. It is very exciting to be able to bring high-tech solutions down to earth and improve the lives of thousands.

Can you share what concerns you most about the real estate industry?

What concerns me most is purchasing and logistics. General contractors and developers rely on both of these to get construction jobs going. It requires a more robust coordination of purchasing and logistics between the subcontractors and vendors. This is a challenge that needs to be overcome on each individual company level to prevent projects from going completely off-schedule because some items weren’t purchased on time.

Another concern is how much attention is being paid to interest rates and inflation. The current jump in inflation can be traced back to the lack of inflation over the past several years. The absence of significant inflation over a long period can create an inflation pileup, further compressing the inflation we should have had during the pandemic. Now that people are returning to the workforce and becoming more productive, there is a natural progression of inflation due to the amount of currency now available and the increase in the GDP and worldwide consumption. The inflation hype may have resulted in an overcompensation with interest rates and other issues. We’ll have to see how the macroeconomic indicators continue to play out.

What advice would you give to other real estate leaders to help their teams thrive and create a fantastic work culture?

Keep your head down, keep going, don’t listen to the noise, and keep creating your business. Keep expanding and creating products that people like and love to the market.

As developers, we are responsible for implementing technological advances in our designs and developments that enhance people’s quality of life. We do this through the implementation of better and greener technologies, and all of the technological advances being created in our respective industries. Continuous improvements in sectors, such as power, electrical, plumbing, and air conditioning, generate evolutionary materials and structural systems.

We all need to focus on this: Be willing to advance into the future, let go of old habits and patterns, and create newer, better, and more advanced building systems. Keep going, keep expanding, and keep enhancing the value you bring to people’s lives. That’s the name of the game.

You are a “Real Estate Insider.” What would you say is the most non-intuitive thing one should know to succeed in the Real Estate industry?

You have to be prepared to overcome any market conditions and not become so indebted or compromised that any downturn will sweep over you and knock you over. Hold if you need to hold, or move forward if you need to move forward, but you need to be prepared to experience recessions, depressions, booms, and busts. This is all a part of the cycle. And since our real estate development cycles are so long, you must be prepared for the worst at all times.

While most of the world and real estate stopped during the pandemic, we kept going. We didn’t stop, and we were able to bring a beautiful product into the market and continue our developments. When contractors were out of work and clients had nothing to buy, we took advantage of that moment.

If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the greatest amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)

Outside the real estate world, we all need to inspire a movement to bring back core family values and traditions that strengthen the family unit. So many distractions like electronics, video games, drugs, and narcotics prevent us from experiencing the world around us. We need to live in the natural world, not a virtual one, and spend quality time together with friends and family.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

The best way is to visit our interactive website https://valorc.com/ to learn more about us and our latest projects and to experience Serena by the Sea through a series of in-depth videos in our Film Gallery.

Thank you for your time, and your excellent insights! We wish you continued success.

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Jason Hartman
Authority Magazine

Author | Speaker | Financial Guru | Podcast Rockstar