We have been doing this for over 25 years and currently have more than $800 million in capital under management. Our investment philosophy is conservative, careful and built on a foundation of data and deep knowledge of our markets.
Jeff Ballard leads all investment and operational aspects of Balco Management. This is important, as Jeff has over 20 years of experience as an asset manager and just as many years of experience as a real estate developer. Jeff has intimate knowledge of all facets of land and housing acquisition, entitlement, development, sales, leasing and management. The team around him are some of the best real estate and investment professionals in the business, with deep credibility and recognized expertise.
Above all else, this expertise yields the most stable, profitable and highest-return investments while achieving what looks like the impossible: finding the best deals in the most dynamic markets. This success is built on Ballard’s unparalleled but prudent and conservative approach, which avoids speculation by focusing its expertise in six primary areas:
Our professionals pull decades of experience together with deep knowledge of market macroeconomics, demographics, historical and future market growth trends, economic risk, migratory trends, local business growth and employment, and many other factors such as local authorities’ existing and future development plans. These are just some of the elements we weigh when determining the quality of a real estate investment.
Deal Spotting and Finding Undervalued Properties
We are often asked how we can focus on the most dynamic and seemingly expensive markets such as Austin, Miami, Denver and a few others. In fact, there are significant undervalued real estate opportunities in even the strongest markets. Here, too, is where market knowledge and depth become vital. Our data-driven market analysis, combined with decades-long local experience in each of our markets, enables us to identify both the existing bargains as well as those infill sites and areas in transition that are destined for profitable development. Knowledge is power in real estate, revealing the hidden inventory, the raw land prime for development, the zoning and infrastructure trends, and, of course, the next “big thing.”
Paying the Right Price and Selling at the Right Price
Real estate professionals often make the mistake of becoming overly wedded to specific deals. This is like falling in love with the shiny car on the dealer lot, and it often yields the same outcome: you pay too much. In real estate, this can reduce or even eliminate any upside, so Ballard applies a clinical, data-driven, forward-looking level of detailed analysis when determining asset value and a fair purchase price. This process also ensures a sale price that will both maximize profit and expedite the sale. This, in turn, means we can move ahead more quickly to the next profitable venture.
Knowing How to Add Value to a Property
One of the most overlooked aspects of property development is being able to accurately assess how to best develop a property. Undervalued assets have often suffered from neglect and are at the very least usually in need of significant upgrading and updating. It is easy to spend too much, imperiling profits. For new construction, weighing how to avoid underbuilding (building a property that cannot yield a maximum profit) or overbuilding (building a property that can only be profitable at a price point too high for the area) is the quintessential blend of art and science. This is a primary reason we focus on a handful of key markets. Our depth of knowledge has enabled us to add value to properties in a way that both maximizes profits and truly develop the communities in which we live and work. Quality matters, and we are very proud of making Austin, Miami, and Denver better places through our work.
A Multi-Channel Strategy Avoids Silos
We pride ourselves on leading the herd, not following it. As a result, we are not wedded to any specific category of real estate. This ensures a balanced portfolio of land, new developments, existing developments, residential, multi-family and commercial. For each of these, our team focuses on well-managed properties and developments that focus on multiple critical factors. These factors include the quality of the property managers themselves, their processes and vendor relationships, their financial stewardship, their responsiveness to tenants and attention to detail, their focus on training and sustainability, and above all else, their transparency and accountability. Effective property management is at the core of real estate investment success.
The Importance of Relationships and Being a Trusted Advisor
Our investors are our partners. We are all in this together, and the success of our objectives is wholly aligned from the day we start working together. We work transparently, knowing your money is hard-earned and that you must have a high level of trust in our methodology, data and processes. This team approach works especially well for physicians and others who simply don’t have the bandwidth to develop the same level of expertise but do have the intelligence, critical knowledge and information to work together in an informed, trusted and friendly partnership.
In summary, Balco pursues stability and growth over trendiness and speculation. That careful, conservative, empirical approach has yielded robust growth and appealing returns for over a quarter century.