Real Talk with Real Estate Investors – Sean Robbins

Welcome to Real Talk with Real Estate Investors, where borrowers of Colony American Finance share their candid experiences. Sean, can you tell us a little bit about your company and what you do? Sure, we started Equity West Capital Partners back in 2010. It was primarily a flip fund and then we transitioned to a rental housing fund in 2013. We’re focused mostly in Portland, Oregon, in the tri-county area surrounding Portland, and we bought our first property as a rental fund in March of 2013. Then we bought a handful in that year and then by 2015 we were buying 50 to 70 a year. Same run-rate year to date. How was Colony American Finance able to help with your growth? So when we first started buying in 2013 we were buying with hard money which is obviously high interest rate and pretty painful to carry, and we knew once the properties are stabilized, we need to find a long-term solution. So I went and put a package together, a request for proposal to you know any bank that would hear me, and I knocked on doors of local banks, bigger banks, Bank of the West, smaller banks that are just kind of you know regional banks and every one of them told me “Yeah, We can do four of these or six of these”, but when I presented a package of 40 of them, they said this is way beyond what we have, and I tried to explain that it’s very similar to an apartment you know just spread out all over town, but it’s 40 units and none of them could get their arms around it. So right about that time, the you know private equity groups started coming in with a product that would satisfy your needs and we actually did our first loan with Colony in 2014 and they pretty much saved our business because without them we wouldn’t be able to continue buying, and get out of hard money. Would you say you’ve seen continued growth in the past few years? Yeah, absolutely, so by partnering with Colony we’re able to increase our buying power because we were able to quickly – you know every three to six months – accumulate properties and turn them into a long-term facility where they were cash flowing, and then put the money that we were able to get back out from the refinance out of the hard money into Colony where we were able to put funds back to use in the market. So they helped us grow exponentially and I actually have you know reached out and worked on a limited basis with other companies out there that were doing the same thing, and it was a very painful experience. And you know the first funding with Colony was definitely a longer process, because it was one of the first ones they did, and we were literally making the market at that time, but since then I’ve funded three separate tranches and they’ve just gotten smoother and smoother and I think the last one we did in less than 60 days. So it’s really nice. Would you recommend our products and services to other residential investors like yourself? Yeah, absolutely, Colony has a really good Underwriting Team, streamlined process, I mean the real big hang-up on our last funding was appraisals, which was out of the hands of Colony and it was just a third-party issue, and I mean ultimately I’ve definitely spoken with and actually worked with other private equity groups in the space, and Colony has been hands down the best to work with. Colony American Finance is a specialty lender that provides loans to residential real estate investors. For more information about our portfolio term loans, single asset term loans, or acquisition credit lines visit

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