Zen and the Art of Real Estate Investing with Jonathan Greene

133: Demographically Driven Multifamily Real Estate Investing with Michael Zaransky


Most investors start investing careers in one asset class and switch to another. Today’s guest discovered his path early and stuck with it.

On this episode of Zen and the Art of Real Estate Investing, Jonathan welcomes guest Michael Zaransky of MZ Capital Partners. Michael is the founder and managing principal of MZ Capital Partners, which concentrates on investment, property acquisition, and development. Michael began his career with triple-net leases and quickly moved to multifamily properties.

Jonathan and Michael’s conversation begins with why Michael received a law degree but never practiced. They discuss some of the advantages and disadvantages of real estate today, especially regarding technology use, what Michael learned from his first investment, and what you should look for in an emerging neighborhood you want to invest in. He shares how building new versus purchasing existing structures can be beneficial, his preference for land versus property with existing structures, and what goes into choosing unit configurations for a development. Jonathan and Michael explore what makes the traditional multifamily model appealing, his entrance into the single-family market in Knoxville, and why he continues to purchase assets in his local Chicago market. Finally, you’ll hear why amenities matter in multifamily housing, the generational differences that impact a tenant’s rental preferences, and the biggest struggle in attaining equity in bigger syndications.

If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to jump into multifamily instead of exploring other asset classes first, you won’t want to miss this episode with Michael Zaransky.

In this episode, you will hear:

  • Why Michael Zaransky pivoted to real estate after law school and never became a traditional attorney
  • Real estate’s evolution and the advantages and disadvantages of being online
  • Michael’s decision to invest in a triple-net lease as his first investment and what he learned from that experience
  • His investments in some of Chicago’s emerging neighborhoods and staying on top of what’s going on in the local market
  • The stores to look for in an area you’re considering for investment
  • Michael’s advice for familiarizing yourself with a neighborhood
  • Building new versus purchasing existing structures and what influences those decisions
  • Development and his preference for land versus a property with an existing asset that requires demolition
  • The property size Michael prefers and what’s needed to manage them
  • Choosing unit configurations for a development
  • Managing student housing and how it differs from other types of multifamily properties
  • What he likes about the traditional multifamily model
  • How a recent acquisition in Knoxville, Tennessee, took Michael Zaransky into the single-family rental market with 87 single-family homes
  • The buying opportunities coming up in Michael’s local Chicago market
  • Offering amenities to help scale out on rents and outpace older buildings built just as apartments
  • What each generation is looking for in an apartment
  • Why Michael sticks primarily to multifamily instead of branching out to other asset classes
  • The biggest struggle in attaining equity in bigger syndications and Michael’s advice for someone just starting in this real estate niche

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Supporting Resources:

Michael Zaransky’s website –

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MZ Capital Partners website –

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