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The Top 5 Most Successful Real Estate Investors of 2016

06 19 2017

The Top 5 Most Successful Real Estate Investors of 2016

From achieving national recognition for their accomplishments, to revitalizing once-thriving cities, to reaching important financial goals, many of the top real estate investors enjoyed unprecedented levels of success in 2016. Fortunately, none of them are shy about sharing their processes or discussing how they got started, the investing opportunities they’ve been a part of, and more.

You should always consult your own financial path with a trusted financial advisor, but never discontinue your personal research and due diligence – there is plenty to learn from the best, in 2017 and beyond. Here are the most successful real estate investors of 2016:

1. Scott McGillivray

Starting at the age of 21, McGillivray has successfully purchased, renovated and maintained rental properties, but he’s more than an investor: he’s also a licensed contractor and television personality. McGillivray has been in the public eye since the mid-2000s, hosting and serving as a judge on HGTV reality competition shows in the U.S. and his native Canada.

McGillivray’s television career flourished in 2016. He launched a new program, “Buyers Bootcamp,” in which he partners with buyers to flip investment properties. He also created a 10-part series, “Moving the McGillivrays,” which followed his family’s quest to buy and renovate their “forever home.” Meanwhile, his long-running home-improvement program, “Income Property,” was named Best Lifestyle Program or Series at the Canadian Screen Awards.

With McGillivray’s willingness to share his knowledge with his others, Scott is definitely a real estate investor to watch in 2017, as well. He frequently shares behind-the-scenes photos – and hockey videos – from his Twitter account, @smcgillivray.

2. Dan Gilbert

You’ve potentially heard of Dan Gilbert before, since he’s the co-founder and chairman of the mortgage lending company, Quicken Loans, and he owns the Cleveland Cavaliers and other sports franchises. However, as a native of Detroit, he’s also at the forefront of its revitalization. Rock Ventures, the holding company for his investment properties and real estate holdings, owns more than 90 downtown Detroit properties, including several historic buildings. He’s signed Warren Buffett and Bill Gates’ “Giving Pledge,” dedicating half his wealth to philanthropic causes.

Gilbert had a busy 2016, largely due to his involvement in sports. In June, the Cleveland Cavaliers narrowly won the NBA championship, ending the so-called “sports curse” that had plagued Cleveland for 52 years. Eight days later, Gilbert’s American Hockey League team, the Cleveland Monsters, won the Calder Cup. Both teams play in the Quicken Loans Arena, which Gilbert owns.

Sports teams aside, Gilbert’s philanthropy and skill with real estate don’t seem likely to slow down any time soon. If you’re interested in following his pursuits in 2017, he tweets about Detroit’s economic growth and Cleveland sports news from @cavsdan.

3. Dorothy “Dottie” Herman

The President and CEO of Douglas Elliman, the nation’s fourth-largest brokerage house, Herman is even more impressively successful considering the odds she has overcome. At the age of 10, her family was in a car accident that claimed her mother’s life, left her father disabled, and caused her to suffer seizures. She began working in real estate while juggling college and single motherhood. After climbing the ladder at Merrill Lynch and Prudential, Herman and her business partner purchased Douglas Elliman with the vision of expanding its footprint throughout the NYC metro area.

In 2016, Herman was featured in Forbes’ list of America’s Richest Self-Made Women alongside Oprah Winfrey, Meg Whitman, Spanx creator Sara Blakely, and others. The magazine called her “America’s richest self-made woman in real estate” and estimated her net worth to be $270M.

While 2016 was a successful one for Herman, she shows no sign of slowing down in 2017. She tweets news about Douglas Elliman and its brokers from @DottieHerman.

4. Albert Berriz

Like Herman, Berriz’s story is a rags-to-riches one. Born in Cuba, his family fled days after Fidel Castro took power, settling in Miami. After studying architecture at the University of Miami and earning an MBA from Northwestern University, Berriz began a career in commercial real estate investing. He now oversees a $4.6B portfolio and 1,400 employees as the co-founder and CEO of McKinley, an Ann Arbor, Michigan-based real estate investment company.

Berriz is frequently cited as one of the top real estate influencers, and in June of 2016, he was featured on Crain’s Detroit Business’ “50 Names to Know in Real Estate” list. According to the publication, McKinley’s portfolio boasts 55 million square feet of apartment units, shopping centers and office buildings. Berriz is also credited with helping bring economic growth to Ann Arbor. In 2016, TD Ameritrade and the software company Llamasoft were among the new tenants of the McKinley Towne Centre in downtown Ann Arbor.

In late 2016, Berriz announced plans to convert a former mall into an apartment complex, so we’re excited to see his impact continue to unfold in 2017 and beyond. Berriz shares news about McKinley, as well as economic development in Michigan, from @AlbertMBerriz.

5. Brandon Turner

Like Scott McGillivray, Turner got an early start in commercial real estate, flipping his first house at the age of 21. Flash forward, and he continues to buy, rent and sell properties while advising young people on getting into commercial real estate investing. Turner regularly writes for Forbes and other publications, has authored several books, and hosts iTunes’ most popular real estate podcast, BiggerPockets.

Turner’s biggest success in 2016 was a personal one: One week after his daughter was born, Turner purchased a four-unit property that he anticipates will be worth $275,000 in 18 years – paying for her college education or to start her own business.

Whether it be 2017 or many years down the road, Turner has some big plans – he tweets about them, entrepreneurship, and real estate from @BrandonAtBP.



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