John Lettera thought that Wall St would be his end career that would lead him to a comfortable position and retirement. He realized that this was not his fate. Though he loved the idea, he knew he was capping his potential. That is when he discovered that his true desire was to help people in the real estate industry.
“I’ve been capping my potential to earn more money. Early in my career I was recruited out of law school to a top Wall Street law firm. I thought this was great as I can learn from the best, get paid extremely well and still invest in my real estate deals. I quickly realized that a law firm (or any business where you bill by the hour) is one of the most inefficient business models I have ever seen. There are only 24 hours in a day so regardless of the amount you bill there will never be more than 24 billable hours in any given day. Your potential to earn more money in your business is capped and limited. The moment I realized that my potential was limited I quit; and the results were well beyond anything I had ever envisioned,” John explains.
John was a part of the real estate world back when there were very few guides on how to work within the business. He had to learn himself as to how to overcome the obstacles that were placed in his path.
“I began investing in real estate in 1990, during the nadir of the real estate market. Access to capital was severely restricted, and investors were genuinely panicked. Space in the capital stack was opening up as institutional lenders were sticking with safe loans. I capitalized on the opportunity as a lot of real estate sat below that top tier, falling either into the value-add category or in secondary or tertiary markets, currently off the radar screen of the most risk-averse lenders,” John recounts.
Now, after mastering his own career in the world of real estate, John is helping others do the same with his technology forward investment management firm.
“I am the founder and CEO of RealFi Financial LLC, a leading, technology-driven, alternative investment management firm with expertise in real estate credit strategies. Through its subsidiaries, RealFi is an originator of qualified and non-qualified residential home mortgages. And through the RealFi REIT, a leading real estate finance company, the firm is a direct lender focused on originating commercial real estate bridge loans in major markets throughout the United States. I have over two decades of legal experience and over 30 years of experience in real estate debt originations and acquisitions as well as equity investing,” John says.
After spending time in many worlds of the entrepreneurial world as well as with an extensive background in law and Wall street, John is offering advice for anyone interested in following their own career path into real estate.
“While many factors come into play when building a business, I believe that the most important ones have nothing to do with innovation, balance sheets, finance, or marketing. The most important variable to your success in business is you. You are the author of your own life, and it’s never too late to replace the stories you tell yourself. Experience has taught me that if we go to work every day on the internal, the external success we crave will undoubtedly show up along the way. The remarkable thing about working on ideas like inner passion and purpose is that your progress comes out so authentically in all manner of external interaction. When people can genuinely feel that you care about what you are engaged in, you are a persuasive salesperson, without actually trying to sell anything. It takes a lot of courage to work on the internal,” John remarks.
To find out more about John, you can check out his website here.