An exercise fitness buff and travel connoisseur, Zach Winner gives us a few insights of how he started his journey into real estate and where he sees the commercial industry going.
Zach’s beginnings started in Los Angeles, where he attended USC and studied Communications. After deciding to change careers, he pursued a law degree and followed a passion of his: real estate investing. After a number of years of investing and the tumultuous year of 2008, he found his way to litigation again. While working in a midsize firm and dealing in entertainment law—among other things—his passion found its way back to him.
How did Prosperity CRE come to be? Where does he see the company growing towards? What travel is on his bucket list?
Listen to Zach’s story here.
Click here to read the transcript
From Los Angeles. This is the Echelon Radio Network
Jerri Hemsworth 0:12
Hi, this is Jerri Hemsworth with the Echelon radio podcast. And today I’ve got Zack Winner sitting with me. How’re you doing?
Zach Winner 0:19
I’m doing great. Thanks for having me on the show.
Jerri Hemsworth 0:21
I know it’s pretty hot out there. What are you doing to beat the heat?
Zach Winner 0:24
I’m really trying to stay indoors. Right? I get my exercise done early in the morning.
Jerri Hemsworth 0:29
Yeah, you were saying that you’d like to you’re you’re an exercise fitness buff.
Zach Winner 0:33
I will. I don’t know about buff, but I like to try to exercise you know, five or six days a week. And, and I do high impact interval training right now. That’s why I’m at a gym. It’s indoors, which is really helps in this type of weather. Yeah, yeah. Alright, you make us run outside.
Jerri Hemsworth 0:49
Zach Winner 0:51
So it’s like circuit training. So you know, we’ll have four or five different stations. And then and then you do a certain number of sets and reps at each station, and then you rotate. And it can be either, like a certain number of sets, or it can be timed for each each section.
Jerri Hemsworth 1:05
Are there multiple people doing this at the same time?
Zach Winner 1:07
It’s a, it’s a class
Jerri Hemsworth 1:08
It’s aa class?
Zach Winner 1:09
Yeah. So it’s kind of like, you know, Orange Theory, Barry’s boot camp. It’s one of those classes.
Jerri Hemsworth 1:14
Sure. How was it when you first started it? Was it? Was it a shock to the system? Or you were like, Oh, wow, this is very cool.
Zach Winner 1:21
Well, prior to that, I was doing CrossFit. And that was very hard on my body, given my age, and I ended up injuring my shoulder exercises in CrossFit can be very gymnastic oriented.
Jerri Hemsworth 1:35
I am so not in the fitness gym world. So it’s more gym. gymnasts,
Zach Winner 1:42
Jerri Hemsworth 1:43
Zach Winner 1:43
Well, they, they they do these special kinds of pull ups called kipping pull ups where you have to kind of swing back and forth and pull yourself up. So it’s a very aggressive move. And in doing that, I injured my shoulder. So I took a little time off. And then I found the place I’m currently working out at called Prevail Fitness in Encino. And it’s terrific.
Jerri Hemsworth 2:04
Wow. Now you’re, you are the founder? Am I correct that you founded Prosperity, Commercial Real Estate
Zach Winner 2:12
My partner and I founded it. So I am a co founder,
Jerri Hemsworth 2:14
Zach Winner 2:14
Jerri Hemsworth 2:15
Okay, how did that come about?
Zach Winner 2:17
Well, I have been investing in real estate for over 30 years, and, and I started syndicating on my own. And I was out at a multifamily syndicator conference in Boston. And we had one of these speed networking, you know, sessions where you meet somebody every five minutes. And I met my partner, and he’s from the valley also. So we kind of stayed in touch and cultivated a relationship. And we said, well, you know, we were kind of each doing our own thing. And we said, well, let’s try to partner up on a deal and see how it goes. And it went very well. And so, you know, eventually we formed a company and, and,
Jerri Hemsworth 2:53
acand when did you guys form it?
Zach Winner 2:55
About 12 years ago?
Jerri Hemsworth 2:56
Zach Winner 2:56
Jerri Hemsworth 2:57
And tell me tell me about prosperity. Who are your clients? What what is your day to day look like?
Zach Winner 3:03
Yeah, so prosperity care. We’re a kind of a private equity company that’s focused on providing multifamily investment opportunities. And so our clients are people who are interested in investing in multifamily real estate, but they don’t want to have to deal with the tenants, termites and toilets, right? It’s a passive investment for them.
Jerri Hemsworth 3:27
The three T’s
Zach Winner 3:28
The three T’s exactly. And our approach is to deliver ongoing cash flow, and then also to help our investors build long term wealth. So we have kind of a value at approach approach to our multifamily investing. So we look for existing multifamily properties that have rents that are below market and have opportunities for us to come in implement various strategies to increase the ongoing cash flow that the investors receive. And then that significantly increases the overall value,
Jerri Hemsworth 3:58
Are the property’s local? all over the states or
Zach Winner 4:02
so we target areas that are landlord friendly. Okay, no rent control, business friendly population growth, net migration and job growth, business growth. And so because of that, they’re all outside of California. So for example, we very much like the Midwest.
Jerri Hemsworth 4:19
I was going to ask you what are some of the hotspots that that and I’m sure it ebbs and flows depending on markets and stuff, but right now, what would you say?
Zach Winner 4:27
Right now, Kansas City is a phenomenal market. We love Kansas City. Indianapolis is a great market. There are a couple of markets in Ohio. Columbus is a good market, Cincinnati is a good market. So it says Midwest markets, you know, on either end of the of the continental US the west coast and the East Coast, it tends to be very boom and bust right the appreciation and depreciation but in the middle, it’s more dependent the value is more dependent on on the on the cash flow and not as much on the market appreciation and that works. For our business model where we’re coming in and forcing the appreciation by increasing the cash flow.
Jerri Hemsworth 5:05
Wow. How did you how did you get into into this and what was your background in from school and, and into this type of commercial real estate so
Zach Winner 5:17
you and I graduated from SC the same year.
Jerri Hemsworth 5:19
Same year, Pepperdine and SC. Both Communications.
Zach Winner 5:23
Awesome. So I didn’t do communications graduate I did law school, I went to McGeorge Law School I, I did communications undergrad, I worked for a Japanese trading company for a year didn’t really like it. And then I went to law school. And so I litigated for a number of years. And while I was litigating, always been passionate about real estate, so I decided to get a broker’s license, which is very easy to do as a licensed attorney. And I started doing loans. And I got hooked up with a small real estate investment group who were buying single family homes around the country and renting them out. And I became kind of their one of their exclusive loan brokers. So I went around the country and got licensed in eight or nine states, you know, the key states where they were buying like, Arizona, Florida, Utah, these types of states. And along the way, I started investing in single family homes and renting them out as well. So that’s how I got my start in investing in real estate.
Jerri Hemsworth 6:21
And you learned the ways of the of the industry, I’m sure and yeah, and mentors along the way with
Zach Winner 6:28
lots of different mentors. Yeah, you know, and eventually, for various reasons, you figure out well, you’re better off going larger, more commercial properties. There’s, there’s, there’s greater opportunity. So eventually, I transitioned over to the commercial side.
Jerri Hemsworth 6:42
And how long were you working in the commercial side before you said, I’m going to do my own thing?
Zach Winner 6:52
Well, I, so I was a mortgage broker, a real estate, residential real estate broker, and I had an escrow company. So I had several companies. And then when the crash happened in ’08, I ended up shutting down, I tried to stay on as long as possible, you know, I was doing everything I could to make make, to help bring in money. I was doing brokers, opinions of value, short sales, whatever we could do, but eventually I had to shut the business down, went back to law, and then started investing in my own and that’s again, and that’s when I started investing in commercial. So
Jerri Hemsworth 7:29
and you said you were a litigator? Was it in real estate? Or was it completely separate?
Zach Winner 7:33
I worked at a midsize firm. We had about 40 or 50 attorneys in downtown LA and so we did a variety of things. We did a lot of entertainment law. Gotcha. Are we represented a lot of the kind of the old school entertainers at the time, Liz Taylor, Ricardo Montalban. Yeah, yeah. And and then we did some class action litigation at the time. We represented Dow Corning in the breast implant cases.
Jerri Hemsworth 7:57
Yeah, of course. Sure.
Zach Winner 8:00
Yeah. And then we represented a lot of kind of local politician, city council members. And we had a small smattering of land use cases. So I started to get acquainted with real estate from a legal aspect then as well.
Jerri Hemsworth 8:11
So that had to have sparked your interest in sort of called to you because to go from attorney to real estate, I can understand if you were in real estate law, you know, or something like that. Do you recall exactly what it was that that said, You know what, I have my law, but I want to go this direction.
Zach Winner 8:34
Well, I, you know, my grandfather, it’s funny. My dad was into stocks, you tend to have people who are really into stocks and people who are really into real estate. My dad was really into stocks, but my grandfather was really into real estate. Okay, he owned a lot of single tenant triple net leased properties,
Jerri Hemsworth 8:51
Zach Winner 8:52
Yeah. Walmart, Payless shoes, or those types of properties. And when he passed away, I was the trustee of the estate. So I kind of took over managing those properties. And that’s one of the ways in which I cultivated my interest in investment.
Jerri Hemsworth 9:08
Oh, gotta love grandpa’s. Yeah. You know, you kind of go Oh, wow, I see where I got this now.
Zach Winner 9:13
Jerri Hemsworth 9:14
So where did you grow up?
Zach Winner 9:16
I grew up in LA. So the first part of my childhood I grew up in Laurel Canyon. Okay. I actually lived in one of the log cabins off of Lookout Mountain Drive. Oh my gosh, yeah. And then my mom was like a hippie and it was wild. Yeah. And then middle of middle school, we moved down to Irvine. Oh, yeah. Okay. My mom bought a trach home. And my aunt her sister bought it bought one. Our backyards connected It was terrific. And then her brother bought another one a block away. So we really had this nuclear family.
Jerri Hemsworth 9:48
Yeah, down in Irvine.
Zach Winner 9:50
Jerri Hemsworth 9:50
And then you went to that three letter school in downtown LA. What what did you want to do when you were I can’t What made you choose USC?
Zach Winner 10:02
USC was the best school I could get into.
Jerri Hemsworth 10:06
Zach Winner 10:07
Jerri Hemsworth 10:07
Zach Winner 10:08
And I and there’s no way I could get into there today, given the, you know, the grades I had in high school.
Jerri Hemsworth 10:13
I don’t think I could get into Pepperdine. That’s, you know, that’s, it’s gotten so crazy. What do you what did you want? What did you think you were going to major in when you started?
Zach Winner 10:22
didn’t know what I wanted to do? So I
Jerri Hemsworth 10:24
had no clue
Zach Winner 10:25
in communications. And eventually back then Japan was going to take over the world. Yeah, so I had a minor in Japanese. I spent a summer in Tokyo.
Jerri Hemsworth 10:34
Oh, my gosh,
Zach Winner 10:34
and I ended up you know, going to work for a Japanese company, but I really didn’t like it.
Jerri Hemsworth 10:38
Were you fluent in Japanese?
Zach Winner 10:40
semi fluent. Am I ever like fully, fully?
Jerri Hemsworth 10:42
Zach Winner 10:43
And so I didn’t know what I wanted to do. So I decided to go to law school. And I think a lot of people end up going to law school because they’re not sure what they want to do.
Jerri Hemsworth 10:51
Yeah. And there’s that. That idea, I think with, with communications, a lot of people say Well, what exactly is that? I said, it’s a lot. And I’m, I wonder, Matt, love mass communications. You’ve got those. You’ve got speech. You’ve got written communication. There’s a whole bunch of stuff marketing advertising that goes into it PR. And did you think, Oh, well, maybe I’ll go practice law with, you know, communications in that zone, or you just didn’t even know at that point?
Zach Winner 11:29
I didn’t know. I mean, I thought communications was a good a good undergraduate degree for law school, because so much of law is communications.
Jerri Hemsworth 11:37
Zach Winner 11:38
And in verbal communication, so I thought it was a good undergraduate degree. But, you know, when I was going to law school, I was into real estate law. And I was into intellectual property.
Jerri Hemsworth 11:47
Zach Winner 11:48
Jerri Hemsworth 11:48
Nice. And did you envision yourself as a litigator? Or were you thinking more transactional?
Zach Winner 11:54
More transactional, I was, I’ve always been more interested in the transactional side. So I ended up going to a law firm. And when you start out, you know, you and you tend to do more litigation than transactional work. So we ended up doing I ended up doing a lot of litigation work and some transactional work.
Jerri Hemsworth 12:11
I was chatting earlier today with Attorney, Danielle Gotcher, who’s Global Immigration Partners. She did not when she was in law school, she did not want to do anything related to litigation. And yet, that’s the first thing she went into.
Zach Winner 12:29
Jerri Hemsworth 12:30
And, you know, she spent a number of years doing that. And she she really did learn that this was not what she wanted to do. And, and ended up going into business with her her husband and and father in law. Did you at some point say, I don’t want to do this litigation thing anymore.
Zach Winner 12:49
Yeah, you know, I,
Jerri Hemsworth 12:50
it’s tough. It’s gotta be brutal.
Zach Winner 12:52
It’s a grind. And it’s, so much of the time is spent in discovery, hiding the ball or trying to get access to information and the other party’s hiding the ball. I litigated for about seven years, and I only took one case to trial. And then we ended up settling. Oh, I never had a verdict.
Jerri Hemsworth 13:13
Oh, my gosh, do you feel good about that? Or a little cheated?
Zach Winner 13:18
I guess a little cheated, but
Jerri Hemsworth 13:20
Come on, I want a jury. I want I want a verdict.
Zach Winner 13:25
But it’s the nature of the beast, I think.
Jerri Hemsworth 13:28
And if you, What did you What from that part of your life has been good for you carrying forward in in the commercial real estate and, and managing and with everything you’re doing at Prosperity?
Zach Winner 13:44
Jerri Hemsworth 13:46
How did that set you up to succeed where you’re at right now?
Zach Winner 13:50
Well, having the legal background, I still hold the license. And so it’s very valuable, right, so much of what we do has a legal component. So on our deals, we tend to have at least two separate attorneys, we’ll have a transactional attorney that I work with to negotiate, for example, the letter of intent to purchase when we’re looking at acquiring a property and then developing the purchase agreement. And, and then we’ll also have an SEC attorney, everything we do is SEC compliance. So we have an SEC offering and so we’ll engage, you know, separate counsel for that. But having the legal background really is helpful in being able to oversee all of that.
Jerri Hemsworth 14:33
Where do you see you and your company in three years?
Zach Winner 14:38
Well, we’re, you know, we’re growing, we’re still a relatively young company. And so we’re still looking, you know, to grow the company to increase our portfolio size. We tend to have like a three to five year hold period. So it’s not like we’re never selling so we’re cycling out of properties and then we’re buying properties but but overall we’re looking to increase our portfolio size and build it up over time.
Jerri Hemsworth 15:02
So how many properties would you say you have in your portfolio right now?
Zach Winner 15:09
We only have about four right now.
Jerri Hemsworth 15:11
Zach Winner 15:11
Yeah, yeah. But they’re larger properties. So we have to think, yeah, when we initially started partnering, we acquired a couple of industrial flex office parks. So these are those those buildings that tend to be single storey and they have showroom or office in the front and warehouse in the back.
Jerri Hemsworth 15:25
Zach Winner 15:26
So we acquired a couple of those. And then then we really developed this focus on multifamily where we’re at now value add multifamily. And so we have 180 unit in Kansas City.
Jerri Hemsworth 15:39
Zach Winner 15:40
And then we’re also doing a hotel to apartment conversion project in Washington.
Jerri Hemsworth 15:44
Do you do anything internationally? Was that something in the future you might have an interest in expanding or you want to just keep it tight in the US?
Zach Winner 15:53
I think we’re really focus. We’ve got this niche that we’re we’ve developed, we’ve kind of developed this expertise and value add multifamily, and, and we’ve got some target markets, and we have like 2528 different metrics that we look at to analyze markets. And so we have a good pulse on the markets and in the US. And so I think that’s where our focus is.
Jerri Hemsworth 16:12
Staying, staying on onshore.
Zach Winner 16:16
Jerri Hemsworth 16:16
Yeah, that makes sense. You, we were chatting earlier you mentioned, you love to travel.
Zach Winner 16:24
I do I do we really enjoy traveling, our most recent trip, we were talking about Portugal, we were just in Portugal and London. And t’s the first time I’d ever been to Portugal, we’d loved it.
Jerri Hemsworth 16:35
And how long were you there?
Zach Winner 16:36
We were there for a week. You know, we rented a car and went up and down the coast. So we went to Lisbon. We went to Porto, which is just a wonderful city. We went to wine country, the Douro River Valley outside of Porto. That was terrific. And then we went to Algarve this beach community Nice. Yeah, was terrific.
Jerri Hemsworth 16:56
How often in the year do you get to travel?
Zach Winner 16:59
We try to go a couple times. Yeah, yeah.
Jerri Hemsworth 17:02
And usually are in the States. Do you mix it up? Or it is let me put it this way. What’s still on the bucket list?
Zach Winner 17:11
Well, we want to go to New Zealand. We want to go to Denmark. That’s, either of those are next on our list.
Jerri Hemsworth 17:20
New Zealand’s on mine. We’ve been to Denmark.
Zach Winner 17:23
How was Denmark?
Jerri Hemsworth 17:24
Denmark is pretty cool. You know, it’s interesting. We were in. We went to Sweden, but because we have an exchange daughter that is from very south of southernmost tip of Sweden, so they’re only half an hour from Copenhagen. So we spent some time in Copenhagen and between Sweden and Denmark, I mean, they’re, they’re somewhat similar, but very different personalities in the people. So that was kind of interesting in that they’re both gorgeous, and we spent, the Danes tend to be a little more harsh. A little more, following the rules a little more harsh. The Swedes are very, you know, open and loving and very fun, but I don’t think you can go wrong with any of the Scandinavian countries. I think they’re all just kind of cool.
Zach Winner 18:20
Yeah. Yeah, I’m looking forward to that.
Jerri Hemsworth 18:22
Where’s the most exotic place that you’ve traveled to?
Zach Winner 18:25
Oh, I don’t know. Let’s see. Exotic? We did Tahiti. I have never been to Southeast Asia. We did Iceland a couple years ago. That was wonderful.
Jerri Hemsworth 18:43
Oh, did you see the monkeys?
Zach Winner 18:45
We didn’t see the monkeys? No. We saw the Northern Lights one night. That was incredible.
Jerri Hemsworth 18:54
That’s my bucket list to I think we wanted to go to Norway. We have another exchange daughter in Norway. And to see the Northern Lights, what was that Like for you guys?
Zach Winner 19:04
It was a trip. It’s like,
Jerri Hemsworth 19:06
did you have to pinch yourself?
Zach Winner 19:07
Yeah, it was freezing and very cold at night. You know, it was like 2am when they came out and sort of shivering, stepping outside of our Airbnb to look and then going back into the air every couple of minutes.
Jerri Hemsworth 19:21
Oh my god, that would be hysterical. It had to come out at two o’clock. Couldn’t it be a little earlier?
Zach Winner 19:27
You never know when they’re going to come out right? Or if you’re going to be able to see them.
Jerri Hemsworth 19:31
what was one location that you went to and you went okay, I don’t need to do this one again.
Zach Winner 19:37
Well, Algarve I was not crazy about
Jerri Hemsworth 19:40
Zach Winner 19:40
Yeah it was like I don’t know, I’d say it’s akin to going to a beach community down. I don’t know like, not poor to buy art by art. A little better than that. But it wasn’t much the resort was fine, but you go outside of the resort. It’s eh.
Jerri Hemsworth 19:56
And inside the states, where where have you traveled?
Zach Winner 20:00
Oh, we’ve gone to, you know, a few of the local national parks enjoyed. During COVID, we drove my daughter we were afraid of flying. So we drove her to school in Oberlin. And that was the first time I’ve driven across the country. And that was, that was a trip.
Jerri Hemsworth 20:19
Zach Winner 20:20
yeah. Yeah, you leave Denver. So we drove California, to St. George, Utah, down to Denver. And it’s weird. As soon as you get outside of Denver, it’s flat
Jerri Hemsworth 20:33
flat as heck to the east.
Zach Winner 20:35
Like all the way to Oberlin, it’s flat.
Jerri Hemsworth 20:38
And you’re like, Wait, where’s all the mountains where the holes don’t exist? Yeah. The Midwest, right, Denver?
Zach Winner 20:46
Yeah, it’s a very large Great Plains area.
Jerri Hemsworth 20:48
Yeah. Yeah. How long did it take you? How long did you did you do it on purpose to take a certain amount of time and take your time? Or did you just bee line it?
Zach Winner 20:57
We bee lined it in and when we went out there, there, there was a fire outside of Colorado outside of Denver. And so we had to take these back roads in the middle of the night through like ski country, and it ended up taking like four hours longer than I should have. So we arrived in Denver at like 3am. And then to stay on schedule. I had to, you know, book it at like 8am The next morning,
Jerri Hemsworth 21:21
and you mentioned your daughter, and you have two kids. I do. Yeah. And their age is
Zach Winner 21:26
28 My son just turned 28 this week, we’re celebrating his birthday tonight.
And my daughter’s 21.
Jerri Hemsworth 21:32
Oh my gosh. So she’s still in school?
Zach Winner 21:34
She has one more year,
Jerri Hemsworth 21:35
one more year.
Zach Winner 21:36
Jerri Hemsworth 21:37
And does she have plans after school?
Zach Winner 21:39
Not yet? She’s you know, looking around weighing her options.
Jerri Hemsworth 21:44
Yeah, exactly. What’s her major?
Zach Winner 21:47
She has kind of a visual arts major. And she’s really into photography. Nice. Yeah, she’s great photographer.
Jerri Hemsworth 21:54
I can identify with that one. Yeah. So in all your travels, favorite foods?
Zach Winner 22:05
Well, I love Japanese food.
Jerri Hemsworth 22:09
So it my mother, my mother went to Japan with my grandmother. And she said it was absolutely phenomenal.
Zach Winner 22:16
Jerri Hemsworth 22:16
Was that your experience?
Zach Winner 22:17
Yeah. It’s really a terrific country.
Jerri Hemsworth 22:20
Did you travel all over Japan or because you spent the time there?
Zach Winner 22:25
I spent the time there. Most of the time was in Tokyo. We went up we did some a couple day trips outside of there. We went up to Kyoto. And that was beautiful.
Jerri Hemsworth 22:35
Yeah, my mom liked Kyoto.
Zach Winner 22:37
Jerri Hemsworth 22:37
And then my brother spent some time down south. So magic wand over your head. Money no object.
Zach Winner 22:49
Jerri Hemsworth 22:50
When you retire, you want to what?
Zach Winner 22:55
You know, I think we probably money no object. My wife and I every year we we have a little place down in in a timeshare at the Four Seasons Aviara, down in North San Diego County. We love it down there. So we’d love to relocate there. And then just travel
Jerri Hemsworth 23:13
Just travel the world. Yeah. Do you like cruises? Are you more like…
Zach Winner 23:17
We are not into cruise. We did our first riverboat cruise a couple years ago, we went up the Danube and that was terrific. We really enjoyed that. So I could see doing more riverboat cruises. We don’t like ocean cruises.
Jerri Hemsworth 23:29
Right. Right. I say river boats are on another one of my bucket list. Because we’ve traveled a lot as well.
Zach Winner 23:38
Jerri Hemsworth 23:39
And I think we’d like it sounds like what kind of what you did in Portugal. We like renting a car and just going and not even really having a plan. We know kind of where we’re headed. And we’ll know where to stay when we get there. We’re kind of that kind of traveler.
Zach Winner 23:59
That’s a fun way to go. After law school. My wife and I did that for about three weeks in Europe. And we just, we knew we had to meet her aunt in Germany at some point.
Jerri Hemsworth 24:09
Zach Winner 24:09
But other than that, it was just open. And we had some guidebooks.
Jerri Hemsworth 24:12
Yes, yeah. When we had books we didn’t need because we didn’t have cell phones.
Zach Winner 24:17
Yeah. Right. Or the Internet to really
Jerri Hemsworth 24:19
Yeah, exactly. You had to call ahead. That’s what we did in England and Ireland was. We just called ahead we had these big thick guidebook and yeah, we have opens openings tonight. Come on up.
Zach Winner 24:31
It was an adventure.
Jerri Hemsworth 24:32
Yes. adventure travel.
Zach Winner 24:34
Jerri Hemsworth 24:35
Zach, thank you so much for being with me today. This has been so cool. I love learning about you.
Zach Winner 24:40
Thank you. It’s a pleasure.
Jerri Hemsworth 24:42
Zach Winner 24:42
Presented by Echelon business development, more than just networking, way more.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai