Viet Ha Do began her professional journey at Merrill Lynch and worked at several Wall Street investment firms before making the transition to real estate. In 2009, she became involved with real estate investing and management focused on multi-family residential assets.
In November of 2013, Viet Ha Do joined forces with a seasoned real estate investor, Paul Folkes. Together they formed Habringer Group, Inc., a real estate investment and advisory company. Since its founding, Habringer Group focused its activities on identifying and investing in underperforming multi-family and commercial real estate assets located in the Mid-South region of the United States. Viet Ha Do currently serves as the CEO and Chairman of Habringer Group.
Throughout her career, Viet Ha Do has played a central role in value-add processes by bringing superior organizational skills, attention to detail, and a positive attitude to daily work. She does not rest when a real estate project’s goals are met. Instead, she seeks new and innovative ways to continually improve day to day management of multifamily and commercial investment properties.
Viet Ha Do continuously seeks out new real estate projects where she can apply her experience from the financial sector and 12 years of wide-ranging experience in multi-family real estate investment, management, and development.
We sat down with Viet Ha Do who spoke to us about her love for real estate investing and her predictions for the multi-family real estate market in the future.
Why did you fall in love with real estate investing?
Real estate is very unique in that it is a tangible asset, as opposed to a myriad of other investments you could consider being a part of. There is something that always appealed to me about that. Being able to see and “touch” a piece of land or a building structure both at the point of evaluating an investment and later while owning it makes it quite special to me.
How does multi-family compare to retail or commercial real estate in the current environment?
The multi-family sector has outperformed both retail and commercial real estate over the past several years. A lot of it had to do with unprecedented amounts of stimulus funds being provided to both end consumers as well as businesses.
With stimulus funding having largely come to an end, coupled with high inflation and rising interest rates, I am being cautious about the near upside potential of the multi-family sector. At the same time, things are not looking bright for retail and commercial real estate. Both of these sectors appear to be in a structural downward trend as a result of changed retail buying habits and the remote work environment.
What are the major differences and relative advantages of multi-family property compared to other non-real estate asset classes?
Without a question, it is all about cash flow. Multi-family real estate offers a very steady and diversified cash flow stream from a large pool of tenants.
When a residential tenant moves out of an apartment it usually takes days or weeks to get that unit rented again. With retail and commercial real estate it can take months to find a replacement tenant and usually significant rent concessions need to be given in order to provide funding for a build-out. If an anchor tenant moves out of a strip mall or an office building, cash flow may get destabilized for prolonged periods of time.
How can the state’s multi-family market be improved?
We are in need of a lot more new construction in Tennessee’s multi-family sector. Currently, over 50% of all apartment communities in Tennessee were built more than 50 years ago. At the time they were built, their useful life was projected to be 40 years.
There is a need for greater development incentives from both State and Federal agencies in order to provide a steady stream of quality and affordable housing to Tennessee’s residents.
What does multi-family look like in the future?
I believe that after decades of significant underbuilding in the sector, we have entered a long-term trend of new construction multi-family communities being brought to market over the next decade or so. There is a tremendous shortage of units throughout the country and a significant percentage of all multi-family communities are already beyond their depreciation period. I believe we will see an overall improvement in the quality of apartment communities in the market.