Our company specializes in selling turnkey investment properties to investors looking to diversify – that is, have investments outside traditional ones, like stocks or bonds. Our company identifies solid properties, acquires them, and rehabs them to an almost new condition. Once the property is ready, we handle renting the property to a qualified tenant, and go on to manage the property long-term for our clients. We are a one stop shop for an investor looking to invest in real estate, as we do all of the hard work – from Day 1. ( GC Realty Investments Media Kit)
GC Realty Investments was born from the overwhelming need for a business like ours. Between 2010 and 2012, while we were simply building our own rental portfolio, and running our property management company, we’d field phone calls all the time from other investors. A large number of them were out of state, or even out of country, and were in a tight financial jam. They’d gotten overly excited about the “projected numbers” a property could yield, but that was a terrible, not to mention costly, mistake. These investors had bought a property, sight unseen, in a terrible neighborhood they knew nothing about, and now they were stuck. Fortunately, they did understand how important high quality property management is for those types of investments, and knew that it was what they needed if they had any hope of turning the property right-side-up financially.
Fast forward 18 months, when Mark Ainley was invited to be a panelist, talking about property management, at a Real Estate Investment conference in San Francisco. While there, we met dozens of investors that were priced out of their local market, just like the calls we’d fielded for so long. They still wanted to invest in real estate, so we immediately saw the connection between the demand for high quality rental properties and the supply of them we had back in Chicago. We left San Francisco with the first of our buyers (investors) and that was just the beginning.
Media kit – In short, GC Realty and Development aims to:
- Provide high quality, affordable housing. Chicago, much like other major metropolitan areas, has high rents, even in the not-so-affluent neighborhoods. We strive to provide properties people can afford, will be happy to call home, and treat it as such. Affordability is one reason we accept Section 8 tenants.
- Revitalize the Chicago housing stock, which improves communities. Without adequate and up kept housing, there isn’t a community. Properties that sit vacant and unlivable are a drag on communities. Those properties can be salvaged and put back into livable shape. We do that.
- Help others make money doing what we do. For our private lenders, we offer an alternative to investing in stocks and bonds. (In fact, we’ve been told we’re the most profitable asset section for some of our investors.) For the investors we sell property to, we offer an opportunity to own real estate, without all the everyday hassles of owning real estate, and actually make money doing it.
Our Professional Team
Mark Ainley is the co-founder of GC Realty Investments (GCRI). Mark started GCRI because there was a need for high quality investment properties that investors could buy for cash flow. Mark recognized this need from traveling across the United States, talking with other investors that wanted to buy property, but were unable to find good returns in their local market.
Prior to starting GCRI, Mark had been an investor since 2003. He started slowly, by flipping condos, and had some buy and holds. By 2009, Mark and his team were purchasing 2-3 properties a month. Mark and his team have successfully renovated and stabilized over 200 properties since 2003, all while managing his full service real estate brokerage company.
Mark has been invited to speak at many events, most recently as a panelist at an unofficial Bigger Pockets event in November 2014. He has been on several radio interviews and podcasts to discuss his extensive knowledge about property management and investing.
Mark’s interests don’t stop with real estate. Mark is President of the Board of Directors for Well Child Center, a nonprofit that focuses on providing uninsured children with primary and preventative medical care. He is also a board member of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Dundee Township. He is always looking for an opportunity to give back.
Bryan Sonn – National Account Manager and Co-founder of GC Realty Investments
Bryan Sonn is the co-founder of GC Realty Investments (GCRI). Bryan is what you might call a “serial entrepreneur”. He has started and successfully ran many businesses, ranging from a bowling alley to a trucking company. In 2006, Bryan started in real estate and never looked back.
In the beginning of Bryan’s real estate career he focused his efforts on construction and property maintenance. His out of the box approach to maintenance has saved his investors and clients a tremendous amount of money. Because of this approach, Bryan became the go-to guy. More and more of his time was being spent on the phone with clients, so it was a natural transition for Bryan to spend the majority of his time working directly with them, and to hire a project manager to handle other matters. Both he and our clients have never been happier.
When Bryan isn’t overseeing projects, you’ll find him grilling out with family and friends, out on his boat, or glued to the TV watching his Chicago Blackhawks. If you ever desire a passionate conversation outside of real estate, just mention hockey – he’ll take it from there.
Clifford P. McCue, CFA – Director of Business Development
Clifford P. McCue, CFA is a managing partner of GC Realty and Development. He brings a strong background in finance, entrepreneurship, and real estate investing to the company. Cliff started his career at the CME Group as a trader of interest rate options. In 2005, he started a US Treasury Bond options market making group. After a successful run there, Cliff joined up with a couple of other traders to form a group in the Eurodollar options. This group was one of the largest self-financed groups on the floor; managing over a portfolio of hundreds of thousands of options. In mid-2010, Cliff decided to move on to start up a small Fed Funds futures group where he combined his options knowledge with a futures spreading model, quickly becoming one of the largest traders in the Fed Funds market in the world. Then, in 2011, Cliff acquired his first rental property and has not slowed down since. In 2014, he was invited to be on the board of directors for the non-profit, Facing Forward to End Homelessness.
Cliff graduated from the University of Chicago with a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics and is a Chartered Financial Analyst.
Bill “Willy” Palmer – Maintenance Manager
Bill caught the real estate bug back in 2009 when he was operations manager for a motor company. He transitioned to a property manager and has been with us ever since. Bill’s role has continued to grow over the years as his knowledge has grown and his determination has remained strong. He is now in charge of overseeing our entire maintenance team. Bill is an avid sports fan and his favorite teams are ones his sons play on.
Gerardo Ulloa – Project Manager
Gerardo has recently joined GC Realty & Development as a Project Manager. He studied at Ball State University getting a strong theoretical foundationin Architectural History and Design. He coupled that with a nuts-and-bolts practical architectural education from the University of Illinois, Chicago. This combination of theory and practical has served him well, as he worked his way up from entry level draftsman to Project Architectural Lead.
It was a temporary field assignment, that he discovered the excitement and challenge of Construction Project Management. Making it permanent for almost 6 years, with the McDonald’s Indianapolis Region.
Being a part of GC Realty & Development and the residential rehabs that are the focus of the company, provide a valuable product to all future residents and their neighborhood, while preserving the City of Chicago’s varied and historical building stock.
- Revitalizing communities are a part of your company’s goals. Can you elaborate on what types of things that entails? Like, what is step #1?
- When you choose a community to revitalize, what key characteristics help you know that area will eventually be successful and prosper again? Are there signs of returning growth someone can see or know?
- If someone wanted to get into investing in real estate for the first time, what do you recommend they do first?
- If someone has gotten in over their heads by buying real estate that isn’t turning a profit, what do you recommend they do?
- Do you serve investors with all different types of real estate? Single family homes? Multi-family homes? Apartment complexes? What about commercial real estate? Or do you specialize in certain types of real estate?
- Sometimes investors end up getting properties that cost more to salvage than they’d ever make from them, what do you suggest in a situation like that?
- GC Realty Investments helps investors find, acquire, rehab, rent out, and manage properties. They are a full-service company, from Day 1.
- Investors, even those without experience, can make money by allowing GC Realty Investments do the heavy lifting for them.
- With years of experience, GC Realty Investments are experts at picking the right property, at the right price, to make money for their clients.
- Along with helping their clients make money in real estate, GC Realty Investments gives peace of mind that property management and maintenance is being taken done at the highest level of care and integrity.
- You mention that rent in the Chicago area is very high, which is true for many areas. What is your company’s approach to creating real estate that is not as expensive?
- You’ve been successful in using housing to revitalize parts of Chicago and outlying areas. Will your methods work in smaller, more suburban areas too?
- Overall, when you compare investing in real estate to other forms of investing, do you feel real estate is a safer investment?
- Often people are given the advice that as they grow older, they should choose more stable, or safer investment types. Do you think investing in real estate applies to that general rule?
- When you rehab a property from top to bottom, how long does it usually take?
- What kind of a process do you go through to vet your potential tenants for an investor? Is there advice you could give other real estate holders that are managing their own properties?