Frank Roessler is the founder of Ashcroft Capital, a real estate investment firm. The firm comprises seven corporate employees and over 85 employees at its management company. Boasting a current ownership of 3,000 apartment units, the firm is quickly growing towards its goal of over 10,000 units. Ashcroft Capital prides itself on working with high net worth investors who provide equity backing to accomplish the firm’s goals. As managing principal, Mr. Roessler oversees the purchasing of apartment communities that are in need of improvements. Once acquired, the community is renovated and the quality of life is improved for its residents.
When Mr. Roessler is able to get away from his many responsibilities he travels. His more recent trips have been to Switzerland, France, and Australia. Globetrotting is a favorite for Frank Roessler. The breaks provide some much-needed time away from the office to re-energize himself and come back to his home of New York City in fighting form.
When you were young, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Looking back this sounds odd, but when I was very young in the second grade, I remember talking to a counselor at my school and I told them I wanted to own a mall someday. I had this huge plan of the stores that would be at my mall, how big the mall would be, and I just could not wait to open my own mall. That was a childhood fantasy of mine! Although I don’t own a mall now, it seems fitting that I did pursue a career in real estate.
What was your first job?
My first job was working for my dad at Vennari’s Pizza, which is still around today. He started it as a mom-and-pop pizza shop back in 1985. My father is German but my mother is Italian so he decided to use her maiden name for the restaurant. I know I’m biased, but it is still the best pizza you will ever have! To this day, whenever I go home, I work in the shop and enjoy some of that pizza.
Where and how did you first get into the industry you currently work in?
I first started working in real estate while I was in grad school. I got into the industry in 2008 which was during the financial collapse. Because of that I grabbed what I could find at the time, even though I didn’t get paid for the first six months. I had internships at a couple different development firms and real estate brokerage firms.
Real estate was also my second career. I changed paths in my late 20s and I found that what helped me do that was having a good vision of my career goals and an understanding of what I needed to know to get where I wanted to be. Many people I knew were looking for a career with a high starting salary and I think that hurt their opportunities in the long run. I wanted to get into this industry and learn it in any way I could so that I could branch out on my own someday. I took some jobs that paid very little, and some that did not pay at all, but ultimately, I really enjoyed the work. I would recommend that other people do the same so that they too can find something they love doing.
How have those jobs prepared you for what you do now?
Those jobs were great for me because they taught me the discipline of institutional investments that I still implement to this day. They were also great because I enjoyed the work, as much as I still do now. I knew that if I was this happy at work, it was absolutely the right career choice for me. Before I switched careers, I didn’t have a long attention span like I do now. Once I got into real estate, I found that I remained excited and dedicated every day, enjoyed what I was doing, and was successful because of it.
Describe the best day of work you’ve ever had.
It was definitely when I bought my first apartment complex. That was several years in the making with dozens of failed attempts. I was able to pull myself back together because it took months to close when they finally accepted my offer. I could not believe that the deal had finally gone through. I was so happy that my hard work and persistence had finally paid off.
How do you keep yourself motivated?
That is a great question. I’ll admit I struggled to stay motivated while I was working for someone else. I liked learning from different viewpoints and management styles, but you can only go so far before wanting to take things into your own hands. Once I started working for myself, I worked harder than ever, but it never felt like going to work because I was so happy with my industry. I’m motivated because I work for myself, I’m interested in the work, and I feel like every ounce of effort I give will be paid back tenfold through the growth of the company. That gives me such satisfaction.
What kind of business ideas excite you most?
There are many areas in the real estate industry that are quite antiquated. There is so much technology available that young millennials are creating every day, it seems. A lot of this technology is ground-breaking and excites me when I see it. This technology adds a lot of value to the way we do business and how we approach things in the industry.
Have you ever tried any unorthodox techniques to attract attention to Ashcroft Capital?
My business partner Joe Fairless is really the promoter and face of our company, as well as a part owner, like myself. He has a podcast called Best Real Estate Advice Ever with Joe Fairless which has professional guests and is quite successful. He does a great job of marketing our company and getting our name out there through technology. It’s exciting to watch him grow Ashcroft to its current height and beyond.
What personal achievement are you most proud of?
I am proud that I found myself in my career. I got a late start in the industry–I was almost 30. I know now that 30 isn’t that old. I think I was concerned at the time that I would not be happy with what I was doing, yet again. But when I began Ashcroft Capital I found myself feeling fulfilled with a job that I loved, and I realized that you’re never too old to start something new. I plan to keep that positive attitude with me for the rest of my life.
What wisdom would you have liked to share with yourself when you first started out?
I would tell myself not to be unsatisfied because life is unfolding as it should. I would also tell myself to enjoy this point in my life as it will lead to greater things. I think that reassurance would have made me feel better. That being said, the search for greater satisfaction is what motivated me and drove me to start Ashcroft Capital in the first place, so I’m certainly glad that I didn’t allow myself to become complacent.
How do you see the multi-family investment industry changing in the next 10 years?
Right now, much of the nation’s commercial real estate is owned by families and individuals as opposed to major institutions. I think that in the next ten years there will be many more institutional firms dominating this industry, rather than the high net worth families and investors we see today. These institutions are growing and taking over a major market share. I wouldn’t be surprised if they continue to expand into tertiary markets. I think that much in the same way that Walmart is beating out mom-and-pop stores and local businesses, these institutions will work their way through this industry as well to become key players within it.